Johan Blitz, Global Head of Corporate Aircraft Finance, UBS
How long have you been at your current organization?
What are your responsibilities within your organization?
I am the Global Head of Corporate Aircraft Finance for UBS. I launched the aircraft-financing product within UBS 11 years ago and since then have been able to successfully implement this product with an ever-increasing portfolio and team. My responsibilities revolve around our multi-billion USD portfolio and managing client and asset risks, but also are linked to marketing and product awareness to our Wealth Management arm. UBS is now considered one of the top financiers in the UHNW segment for corporate aircraft.
Describe a typical day or week in your role.
I usually arrive in the office around 7am and immediately I start up my computer. Then I need a very strong coffee. And another one. Next I start to navigate through the jungle of emails. Depending on the content of the emails, the planning of the day starts (besides the scheduled internal and external meetings). I speak to my team and get an update on the business, internal projects and default cases. I also get an overview on payments received from our clients and depending on the status, may delegate some tasks to some colleagues. Due to the overall difficult market situation and deterioration of values, I speak on a daily basis to our internal stakeholders such as Risk, Legal and Compliance, and sometimes also with our Tax department. There are always ongoing internal projects that need to be discussed, prepared and presented. I’m often involved in complex cases, difficult discussions or strategic planning for new transactions.
Lunchtime is dedicated to either a networking appointment, spent at the gym, or going for run. Some people claim that sports burns their energy, however for me, the exercise provides exactly the energy and fresh air that I need to rejuvenate and be prepared to fulfill the high demands and expectations of my position.
In the afternoon, besides scheduled meetings (and a few more strong coffees), I usually find myself in many spontaneous meetings and spending time understanding where and how I can support my team. The really good days also include a few minutes to break from the business and have a quick laugh with my team. Keeping our team spirit positive and upbeat is key and a little laugh can go a long way.
Before the day’s end, I check my agenda for the upcoming days to make sure I am organized and prepared for whatever may be scheduled.
And at the end of the day I look forward to going home to my wife and two boys.
What do you love most about your job?
I like the combination of a rather emotional product and dealing with UHNW clients, whom certainly deserve deep respect, but can often be very challenging. Further, I enjoy that you always will experience new situations and challenges in this business. Last but not least, I love my team. Without this team, the huge success we have experienced in the past years would have not been possible.
Why did working in the Business Aviation industry interest you, and how did you get started?
I started my career in commodities trading and eventually took an opportunity in aircraft financing with another large Swiss bank. The unique assets and intriguing clientele was enough to grab and hold by interest. Later on I was able to bring the product to UBS, which encouraged me to further expand my network and understanding of the business that deepened my passion for the industry. I have realized that once you are in the corporate aviation industry (even if a rather small but mature industry), most of the people stay even if changing an employer.
Who or what has been your greatest professional influence?
My father, who lead by example through his hard work and commitment to achieving success, both professionally and personally.
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Energetic, Committed and Fun-loving
What three items would you never travel without on a long haul flight?
Warm socks, my iPod and Dr. Dre Beats headphones!
Finally, what is your hidden talent or hobby?
My rock bands skills! I used to play the drums and perform as lead singer in a local band
UBS provides financial advice and solutions to wealthy, institutional and corporate clients worldwide, as well as private clients in Switzerland. The operational structure of the Group is comprised of our Corporate Center and five business divisions: Wealth Management, Wealth Management Americas, Personal & Corporate Banking, Asset Management and the Investment Bank. UBS’s strategy builds on the strengths of all of its businesses and focuses its efforts on areas in which it excels, while seeking to capitalize on the compelling growth prospects in the businesses and regions in which it operates, in order to generate attractive and sustainable returns for its shareholders. All of its businesses are capital-efficient and benefit from a strong competitive position in their targeted markets.
Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, UBS has offices in 54 countries, including all major financial centers, and employs approximately 60,000 people. UBS Group AG is the holding company of the UBS Group. Under Swiss company law, UBS Group AG is organized as an Aktiengesellschaft, a corporation that has issued shares of common stock to investors.