It’s party time! We are celebrating our CEO’s 30-year work anniversary at iGuana and his 30 years as a rebel. We, his colleagues, would like to share his story, the way we lived it.
And the story begins in 1988. Stephane Horta (we call him Stef) is looking for a job. He is a young adult, he is 23 and he is a rebel. He is inspired by Woodstock, dresses Goth, listens to New Wave and dreams of changing the world. At age 14 his parents buy him a very rare piece of technology – his very own Apple II computer. He starts programming and now he wants to put his skills to the test. He joins Allgeier, a German IT company, programs day and night, drinks litres of Coke and sleeps at his desk. He develops new software, gets involved in sales, finance and operations. At age 35 he is appointed CEO of the Belgium division. He shifts focus to document management and document scanning services and expands the company into other countries. In 2014, the company separates from Allgeier and becomes iGuana.
Stef hasn’t changed a bit over the last 30 years. He is still the same rebellious kid, he still drinks litres of Coke and falls asleep in front of his laptop. He refuses to wear a tie, his favourite colour is pink, and we can’t stop joking about his hairstyle. He is the child of the sea, an avid sailor and a professional scuba diver. When you meet Stef for the first time, you will never guess he is the CEO of an international IT company. Although he can be easily mistaken for a surfer or a skipper.
There’s no job at iGuana that Stef did not do himself at one time or another. Here’s a funny story: when Stef launched ScanFactory (our document scanning facility), he spent about 3 months there disguising himself as a regular employee. When the truth came out we were all wondering why. Well, this is how Stef is. He is hands-on. He wants to know what each of us actually does.
Stef knows all of us personally, by name. He is very much involved in our lives and knows our families. Many of our original staff are with him for a lifetime – 30, 20 years. Over the years a few of us left to explore other career opportunities. The majority came back. When we say that a job at iGuana is for life we’re not joking. Our software developers in Cyprus have been secretly calling Stef ‘Padre’. The secret’s now out! We know that Stef’s door is always open (literally) and his mobile phone is always on. Any of us can discuss our professional or personal issues with him directly.
Last but not least, Stef also knows all his customers, personally. His schedule is full of customer appointments. It’s not unusual for him to hop in his car at 5 a.m., drive 300 km to pay customers a visit, drive back, and do the same the next day and the day after. Every customer can call Stef directly on his mobile, too. He’s not a fan or CRM or ERP, yet he seems to know the status of every single project, in real time. He likes to tell us: “If you need CRM to tell you who your customer is or what you should do, you don’t know your customer.” But he’s on the phone around the clock talking – to us, our customers, our partners. Maybe that’s the secret.
Stef, we wish you the Happiest Work Anniversary Ever!
Here’s what one colleague shared shortly after she joined the team:
Monday is already here and so is my 8th working day. It’s been a long time since I started working with pleasure … isn’t that nice? And it’s not only because of the friendly, competent colleagues but also thanks to the inspiring, honest, funny, humane and knowledgeable CEO. This is hard to find today! Well worth the wait …