My Career Story | Rob Tallentire

March 5, 2024

Rob Tallentire joined Mizuho EMEA in 2013 as Chief Financial Officer of Mizuho International. Since then, he has continued to take on ever-increasing responsibility as Mizuho EMEA CFO, a Member of the Board of Directors for Mizuho International, and most recently, Deputy CEO, Mizuho EMEA Corporate Services. We spoke to him about his career journey to date, the importance of diverse thought, and what a day in the life at Mizuho looks like.

Born and raised in New Zealand, Rob graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelors of Commerce, majoring in Accounting. “During the summers, I would work with my father as a builder in a lumberyard, this was my first job and how I paid my university fees.”

“I studied commerce to keep my options open,” he explains. “After I left university, I did the traditional milk round and received job offers from all of the big, chartered accounting firms.”

Rob went on to accept an offer from Coopers & Lybrand (now PwC) where he began his journey to become a chartered accountant.

During his time there, Rob had the opportunity to gain practical experience working across different industries and clients, from marketing to manufacturing. It was here he gained his first exposure to the world of investment banking.

“I audited an Australian/New Zealand investment bank and all of the complicated structures that come with it,” he says. “I found this intellectually stimulating and insightful.”

Rob had always had the desire to travel and was fortunate enough to explore new parts of the world through a couple of overseas roles and secondments.

After qualifying as a chartered accountant, Rob moved to London to work for a merchant bank, before going on to join NatWest markets and eventually becoming the regional Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at Macquire Group at age 33, after stints in both Australia and London.

Becoming a regional CFO at a young age in London gave Rob responsibilities across many different areas of the financial spectrum, from banking and markets to asset management and infrastructure.

Diversity of thought

Outside of his day-to-day roles at Mizuho EMEA, Rob is a strong advocate of inclusion & diversity, as well as fostering young talent.

Sharing his personal experience Rob said, “Diversity of every type is important.  My first real exposure to this on a large scale was when I moved to London from Auckland early in my career. New Zealand is a long way away from anywhere, so being exposed to the geographical mobility of European residents was completely new to me. This inclusive environment created what we all recognise to be one of the most international and diverse cities in the world. Because of this community, we have individuals from all walks of life with different skills, perspectives, lived experiences and motivations working for us here at Mizuho.”

“At Mizuho, we welcome people from all backgrounds, so when you come through the door, we’re set up to teach and develop you as an individual.”

Rob Tallentire,
CFO, Mizuho EMEA

“When I was studying, you couldn’t have got a job in a large company without a relevant degree,” says Rob, “but as societies evolve, so do industries, and in today’s world of diversity of thought there’s a different and more open approach.”

Speaking about today’s requirements, Rob says, “what we look for now is the ability and willingness to learn. At Mizuho, we welcome people from all backgrounds, so when you come through the door, we’re set up to teach and develop you as an individual.”

Rob is the executive sponsor the City of London’s Women in Finance Charter (WIFC). as well as co-chair of Mizuho EMEA’s gender network.

“The diversity and the WIFC agendas are quite personal for me. I have three daughters so, whilst I’m aware that the world has come a long way, there’s still a long way to go,” he says. “These agendas are not just about gender either – but about socio-economic diversity and the opportunity to choose the path you take. I am the first member of my family to attend university and two of my daughters have followed suit in pursuing their own academic dreams. Meanwhile, my third daughter has chosen an alternative route of study, one that reflects her unique interests and talents. I couldn’t be prouder of all three for embracing their individual paths with courage and determination and choosing to pursue their own career aspirations.”

When asked about how he pushes the diversity agenda at Mizuho, Rob responded that for him it is all about visibility and sponsorship.

“I always make myself available, whether that’s panel discussions or networking events, and then on the sponsorship side public endorsement of exciting initiatives and the allocation of resources to support these is fundamentally important.”

Advice for young talent

Whilst his responsibilities are vast and diverse, including supporting the Mizuho growth agenda, regional strategy, regulatory change and interaction with America and Asia, Rob said “the two most important assets to any company are not on the balance sheet, they are your reputation and your people and they should be a priority.”

“Treating people as individuals and being able to develop them as such is really important; people are not cookie-cut, they have different motivations, interests and incentives” he explains. “I rely on my team to be engaged, and my responsibility is to listen to them, and provide considered development opportunities to support their aspirations where possible.”

When asked what advice he’d give to somebody entering the finance sector, he had several pieces of advice.

“Firstly, invest in yourself, say yes to opportunities for new experiences and spend time building networks.”

“Secondly, be interested, make yourself available and support colleagues as a valuable team player. And finally, put your hand up - I firmly believe that being comfortable in asking questions is one of the strongest skills you can have. I still ask a lot because I don’t know everything, and the more knowledge you gain, the more understanding you’ll have. This makes you more valuable to the business and you’ll also find your role will become more interesting as well.”

Headquartered in London, Rob says that Mizuho EMEA offers the best of both worlds. The opportunity to work for a global financing powerhouse, whilst getting to experience a boutique work environment.

“It’s an exciting place to be at the moment and we’re seeing major investment from the company, in a variety of forms.”

Rob Tallentire,
CFO, Mizuho EMEA

“You’re not a number at Mizuho,” states Rob. “You can make a difference here, and because of our size, if you want to develop and learn, the opportunities and access to senior leadership are there, both horizontally and vertically across the organisation.”

Rob discussed the benefits of starting a career at Mizuho with recent Finance Graduate Clara Gnananvadivel who shared some of her first-hand experiences and perspectives.

“The Mizuho graduate programme has a very small intake in comparison to other companies and this was a key factor for me,” said Clara. “So much value and importance is given to you to make sure you’re picking up the role, learning and getting the support you need to succeed.”

He believes that the 12-month programme helps graduates ease into the role, providing time for additional support and training.

A day in the life at Mizuho

So, what does a day in the life of a Deputy CEO, CFO and board member look like?

“It’s a cliché, but no two days are the same and that’s part of the attraction of Mizuho for me,” says Rob.

As a global bank, headquartered in Japan, Rob believes that Mizuho EMEA acts as a gateway to many things.

“We have a lot of emerging markets, particularly out of the Middle East. The ESG agenda is driven out of EMEA, and more recently, we’re trying to showcase EMEA as a centre of excellence to the rest of the business – supporting global initiatives and sharing knowledge gained from operating in one of the financial capitals of the world with the rest of Mizuho Financial Group.”

Rob’s current priorities include the creation of a universal bank in the European Union, expanding the CIB business model and growth strategy for EMEA, and building out Mizuho EMEA Corporate Services .

“It’s an exciting place to be at the moment and we’re seeing major investment from the company, in a variety of forms.”

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