From a small town in the Cluj County towards leading a gigantic FM company in India, at only 36, Tudor is definitely an accomplished human being. He somehow blends his high-stake responsibilities with his passion for sports, while making sure he remains connected to what's happening back home. Tudor has some strong messages to convey for the benefit of our country, so here's the present and future of a Romanian CEO in Bangalore, India!
Name: Tudor Marchis
Hometown: Gherla, Cluj County
Abroad since: 2011
Living in: Bangalore, India
Current position & company: CEO, Technique Control Facility Management
TGR: Tudor, you are definitely among top Romanian performers I have met so far. Congratulations! What do you think helped you achieve this fabulous role in India?
TM: Thank you for the nice words....I am a straight honest person. I think it is because I love India. I have the feeling that I belong here... India is a great place from all sides, cultural, social and economic, and I was able to understand as much from it to make business, have a great social life and enjoy the culture.
Who do you have to thank for this amazing opportunity?
Chronologically... to Andras and Svein, the owners of Thermo Control Romania, Sankey, Gopi and Antao - investors for startup. Last but not the least, to Jitu Virwani, owner of Embassy Group who gave to TCFM big portfolio of business and made this company what is today.
Your figures keep expanding each year spent in Bangalore: 1500 employees, 4 million sqm of offices in your portfolio… Is there room for more?
We grow ... I estimate 2000 this year. India is so big that I would say Romania fits into its pocket. TCFM may look big for us, but here is a decent size company. I grew up in Gherla, where the glass factory had something like 1000 employees (I might be wrong but that number is in my head). Now having 1500 and daily growing looks so natural, simple and I do not feel that burden.
It is different to build an organization from scratch then to be employed as CEO to an already big size company. I have in my mind and I know absolutely all facts, numbers, history etc. That makes it easy.
Indian vs. Romanian employees – which are the differences?
I quote here Jitu - he mentioned few years ago to me that East Europeans are like Indians with white skin. By that time I didn't understand what he meant, now I am using that quote myself.
There are so many similarities that is not even funny: business scenarios, way of working, recruitment, way of closing contracts, handling authorities... A little adaptation and you are like home. Biggest difference is given by the economic scenario - in Europe, due to limited jobs available, staff turnover is less than India.
How do you spend your free time in Bangalore?
Work in the morning and sports at night. I was myself a sports person all my life. When I left Romania, I was a football referee.
Sport is life itself.... Every weekend I play football in Amateur League of Bangalore. Golf I learn now, and in March I won the country final of Lloyd and Business Today tournament with the Bangalore team.
I am pretty sure life in India can offer a wide variety of unique experiences. Could you share one?
One of my absolute memories is when I took a rickshaw 5 years ago. Guy asked me where I am from and he started to tell me our country size and number of people. I instantly googled the size and you know what - was correct... They are smart and knowledgeable.
Could you mention something about the Indian culture we don’t know here in Europe?
Something what you do not know ... I tell you something I didn't know and took a long time for me to understand and cope with it. In India, food MUST be at specific times. It is a must. I got used to prioritize my day and when I am hungry – I just eat. Here, food is more than not feeling hungry. For me, eating and sleeping are two things which I consider waste of time... I would like to be able to go on 24/7 without food and sleep, take some kind of pill and go on.
But no, food here is like a passion. I hear about people planning trips to eat some special kind of food in a particular place. Discussions at a drink regarding food. It is polite here to ask and to answer after lunch time "did you have your lunch?". In the beginning I was wondering "what is his problem?" now I get it and understand the importance of food in social life. In Romania we speak way less of food…
So it seems India is the perfect place to follow your passions and carreer goals. Is there anything disappointing in your life?
Disappointed I am by our country. India is growing at a huge speed and Romania is legitimately approving that bribery under 50000 USD is legal… Lately I see we are led by outlaws. Our country is split in two - those who are working their ass off to make a living and pay taxes and those who are working for government structures (politicians, public administration, medical system, school system, etc..).
Luckily the outlaws you mention forgot about the latent force of our positive side! They managed to reunite us and make us the strongest since 1989…
Yes, but let me put it otherwise - society created those positions to improve life of all their members. Romania now is suffocating by this overhead, which should help the system function.... Plus our leaders are coming from areas where being a business man is equal with having business only with the state. It is so wrong, so unfair for anyone with his eyes wide open.
Anyone in this world pays well, accepts and recognizes smart people. Romania is slowly losing the young great minds and to some extent families who are fed up with the system.
It’s a pity as Romania is a great place to invest money, but only those who accept and understand corruption as a daily practice will invest. It is so easy to live in Romania having non polluted air, water everywhere... The world is lacking those and we don't know how to cherish them…
Do you have a message for the many professionals who wish to remain inside borders and help improve Romania?
Message… I am out in the last 6 years... Do not touch anything related with state business and authorities. Private sector is booming and I would recommend sticking on it. And do not give money to anyone regardless the service or give after informed (DNA) police. Let's stop this useless habit!
Tudor Gheorghe called Art Critics as low quality Artists… I could say the same about politicians - low quality professionals who were not able to work in private sector.
If you are working for state as a politician, bureaucrat, doctor, teacher, priest and you do not like your revenue, quit. Do not build your happiness on others. I know some of the people working in those areas are honest and might be against my comments. I am sure they witness and are aware of this practices at their job, but even if you do not take bribe, being blind is the same in tax payer eyes.
Reminiscence of communism or democracy poorly understood?
I remember president President Reagan saying a Russian joke - I adapt it a bit: you know there is a ten year delay in the Soviet Union for opening a new firm. There is a 10 year wait, and you go through quite a process, paperwork and lots of counters and departments.
This man laid down the money and huge number of files and the fellow in charge said to him: Come back in 10 years and get your company registration number. And do not forget a fucking timbru fiscal “stamp”!
The man answered: Morning or afternoon?
And the fellow behind the counter said: Ten years from now, what difference does it make?
And he said: Well, I got an appointment at the city hall in the morning and in the evening I receive new car plates for my recently imported car.
After you read this and realise is not a joke, you are Romanian.... For a person who has never been under Communist Party, it is just a bad joke.
Another funny story I remember was few years ago when an English friend of mine was praising a mayor in Romania for his honesty in corruption... They were building an infrastructure project and that mayor told him back to add 5% percent. He was extremely impressed with the 100% support received from the mayor for that extra money, who indeed kept his word. So a bright side is that "we have honest coruption" and all businesses can buget it in expence plans...
Despite all that, do you still recommend Romania as a tourist destination?
I am really encouraging people to come visit us. I never met a single person working or travelling through Romania, not impreseed about what they saw. I always tell them about the beauty of the Danube Delta, but not only.
But I discourage Indian citizens to apply for visa, because we are making them go through hell to obtain it. To visit Romania if you are Indian is better to get Schengen visa, because European Union is having a much relaxed procedure then Romania. Remember … Politics …
What about you? How often do you travel to Romania?
Once a year for holiday.
What do you mostly miss about Romania?
Family, friends and “mici”.
How does your future look like? I am sure you still have lots of things to do in India, but can we hope we will see you back sometimes in Romania?
Future looks great... rainbow colors I am sure I will pass all its colors but I learned how to handle them! Now I look to implement a new way of working in FM, which is more about people and less about machines. We open a training institute for Facility Management.
Coming back in Romania... for sure sometimes I will be back and I will become a politician… I am laughing writing this… Honestly, I take life as it comes. I came in India with the intention of spending one year… I complete 6 next month… So, politically correct answer will be “yes I will come bring investments of millions of euro and make Romania great” but I am not a politician so… I will let life and will take the proper decision when time comes.
Now I am focused on what I do here because I like it. It is my 10th year with TCFM - a lot but looks like yesterday.
Do you really see yourself involved in politics?
When I was a kid, if someone was asking me what you want to be when you grow up, my answer would be Ceausescu . I still dream sometimes I might be President or Prime Minister, but then I shake my head and realize something like that will destroy my freedom and family life...
Then I can only hope for you to stay positive, healthy and happy with your beautiful family back there in Bangalore! Thank you, Tudor, for your time, looking forward to seeing you change something in Romania!
And thank you for this opportunity and time spent with me for this interview. Good luck to your initiative - all the people in The Golden Romania are the real ambassadors of our country. We are those who represent the country, we are the true mirroring of our values and country to the world. Hai Romania si la multi ani!
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