Meet the Expert: Roelof Schuurman-Meeske

Meet the Expert: Roelof Schuurman-Meeske

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Roelof Schuurman-Meeske

Roelof Schuurman-Meeske

Meet the Expert: Roelof Schuurman-Meeske

January 13, 2021

 

Roelof Schuurman-Meeske, Risk Consultant at Proximities knows the company from the inside out. He joined right after its establishment. After his master’s in international Relations, he became Proximities’ first employee and started working as an analyst. Since then, both Roelof and the company have grown considerably.

 

During his studies, Roelof witnessed first-hand that geopolitical developments can bring opportunity as well as risks. During an internship in the Middle East, he worked on the construction of an oil pipeline and learned about the strategic value of the project for both countries and companies. This experience intrigued him and motivated him to focus completely on geopolitical developments. At Proximities, there was plenty of opportunity to do so.

Specialism at Proximities

At Proximities, Roelof is responsible for the domain Business Environment. “In this domain, we analyze the actors and factors of influence for the business of our clients” he explains. “Where companies usually only perform market analysis, we analyze the sociocultural environment, (geo)political developments and the security situation in a country”. This modus operandi is based on the principle that intelligence forms the base of successful decision-making. “Where companies often have an inside-out approach on risks, we add an outside-in analysis of external risks. This way there are no surprises and business continuity is safeguarded”.

Besides that, Proximities also provides insight by mapping stakeholders of our clients and preventing compliance and integrity risks. One of the ways this is done is by conducting integrity due diligence on prospective partners of our clients. “Some time ago we conducted an investigation into a Sri Lankan business partner who turned out to be heavily involved into national politics and was susceptible for a conflict of interest. As a result of our research, our client could deal with and avoid the risks.

Roelof leads the team of analysts and investigators working at Proximities. The team consists of individuals with an academic background with strong research and analysis skills. “Because of our global resources and contacts, we are able to obtain a good information position at short notice. We translate this information to applicable intelligence and specific advice for our clients. We do not provide generalities.”

As a result, Roelof spends the majority of his time physically in the Netherlands but mentally in faraway places. “That is exactly what I love about my job. Because many companies have integrated their company processes across the globe, the situation can become very complex. Something that happens in Vietnam can be crucial for activities in the Netherlands. It is important to keep an eye on this.”

Most memorable project

In recent years, there have been various successful projects. “An unconventional but right prediction is what makes me most proud. We predicted the election of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for example. It definitely gives a kick when our predictions become reality.”

When discussing the future, Roelof responds firmly. “External risks are becoming increasingly important for company results. COVID-19 is a prime example. Companies are becoming more and more aware that the complexity of the global economy brings many opportunities but also a lot of risks. This means that mapping out the business environment and possible risks is more important than ever. Looking at the world with a West-European perspective of endless economic integration without risks is no longer from this time. By taking off our ‘European glasses’, we can get a much more realistic view on the potential opportunities and risks.”

 

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