In this series, we are interviewing members of our club, so that you can get to know each other a bit better.
Today we talk with Daraius Nawroze about his life and work in the region.
What brought you to the French Riviera? How long have you been here?
I first visited the French Riviera at eighteen years old, with a close friend just prior to Uni; loved it and knew this was where I wanted to be.
We almost made it 22 years ago whilst based in Luxembourg, when we bought some land and started building a house in Mougins. But that was not to be, and we finally arrived in the summer of 2022.
Could you tell us about your professional career? What do or did you do for work?
I have had what I consider to be a privileged 27-year corporate career with an investment bank that allowed me to live and work in 8 countries, spanning 4 continents.
Most of my roles involved business strategy and building or fixing different businesses within the Bank, I was lucky enough to be involved in some very large M&A deals from inception to integration, which is an amazing learning experience around people, culture, process and technology and in championing transformational change in an company that has been acquired.
I left the Bank a couple of years ago and set-up my own small consulting firm in Hong Kong focused on training, coaching and mentoring, typically C-Suite individuals.
Ironically, my first and longest client engagement was back at the Bank, so I feel that I have only left a year ago.
What does the company that you work for do?
S&DN Consulting has two main and very distinct strategies:
– Corporate Training, Coaching and Mentoring. Client briefs until recently were tailored to C-Suite. We are looking to adapt this to the needs of smaller English-speaking businesses on the French Riviera.
This can include Advisory to Leaders and Boards on topics such as Corporate Social Responsibility / Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; or actual training of teams.
– Business Strategy and Execution. Client briefs are typically about business growth: obtaining investment and pros and cons of each approach; help with pitch decks and training; merging or acquiring; integrating companies; listing and IPOs; or they can be about exiting a business and all that entails.
Why did you decide to start your own business?
I have very recently set-up the French-arm of S&DN Consulting.
The purpose is to give value to start-ups and small-to-medium sized businesses on the French Riviera that cannot afford the Advisory services of a Big Four firm. This provides me with a lot of satisfaction and makes me feel that in a small way I am giving back to the community the benefits that a privileged corporate career has provided me.
We are trying to develop a third strategy here on the Riviera around ‘pivot to Asia’, aimed at companies based in the region wishing to expand / enter the massive consumer markets of North Asia and ASEAN. Having lived and worked in multiple countries in Asia, we feel we are ideally placed to provide the local contacts and explain the cultural nuances to businesses wishing to make that leap.
What would be your best advice to others thinking about living or working on the French Riviera?
It very much depends on what you want out of your career or out of life when it comes down to it. I have worked in London, Hong Kong and New York amongst other places as that is the direction my career took me. But the world has moved on, and although we see some exceptions, flexible working is more of a reality now than it has ever been; opening up possibilities of living in a desirable location which the French Riviera certainly is.
My experience has taught me, that businesses thrive through its people. Living in a beautiful part of the world is simply not enough unless you can complement that with a physical social network of like minded people.
That is the reason we joined the Business Club Côte d’Azur; to build that social network – which is not easy to do on your own.
Fun facts about Daraius!
Since when do you live on the French Riviera?
Where are you originally from?
London originally, but since then, have lived in 8 other countries.
What is your favourite wine?
From this region, Chateau de Berne. We love to go and eat at their terraced restaurant then meander around the shop to pick up some wine and other goodies.
What is your favourite spot on the French Riviera?
That is such a difficult question. We are water people, so coastal areas over l’arriere pays. The Route Napoleon is always a favourite driving road.
What French word, expression or sentence do you find very difficult to pronounce?
Not difficult to pronounce but the phrase I find the most frustrating after 6 months of renovations, is “c’est compliqué”, as it implies a greater emphasis on the problem than in finding the solution.