The British Chamber of Commerce in Hungary (BCCH), established in 1991, elected a new Chairman, Vazul Tóth at its Annual General Meeting in May last year. A recent issue of Diplomacy & Trade carried an interview with him on the role and activities of the BCCH.
“The BCCH has been effectively supporting British companies operating in Hungary for more than two decades. The past few years, since the start of the world economic crisis, has not been easy but we managed to preserve the importance and relevance of the Chamber,” Vazul Tóth tells Diplomacy & Trade.
“I think that together with the new leadership (‘Council’) and building on the results of the work of my predecessor, Gergely Mikola, we need to seek a new direction. I believe that we need to have more sector-specific events; we need to get closer to our members in the sense that we ask them about their needs in terms of services and support. We started our work with these objectives in mind and over the past six months, we have made significant changes to our operating model and the way we address the challenges facing our members,” he adds.
In line with this endeavor and as a lucky coincidence, the British government is determined to place a stronger focus on supporting the development of economic relations with several countries and Hungary is one of them, the Chairman says.
The BCCH, in cooperation with the British Embassy and UK Trade & Investment, is going to set up the British Business Centre with the aim of supporting the market entry of British small and medium-size enterprises in Hungary. The Centre will primarily focus on providing market information and decision support data for UK firms interested in trading with Hungary.
“BCCH’s twenty-plus-year experience will be a great asset in this initiative. Also, once the decision is made that a certain company will establish business in this country, we will be able to help in their integration into the Hungarian business environment, thus, we will be able to provide ‘full service’ to UK companies,” Tóth explains.
The Chairman, who, in ‘civilian life’, is a Director in Consulting at Deloitte Hungary, is optimistic about the near future. “I believe that we are at the dawn of improved market conditions. Building on this, we anticipate an increased interest in the activities of our chamber,” he points out.
He is of the view that “beyond the fundamental British business values like transparency, the British Chamber of Commerce needs to address relevant and challenging issues. We need to organize events with sought after and highly respected guest speakers to provide insights and lessons learned for our members. In order to have proper feedback, we continuously seek input from BCCH members to assess what sort of services they would like the Chamber to focus on besides the traditional ones.”
During his over 15-year experience as a business adviser, Vazul Tóth spent a number of years working and living in Australia, Britain, The Netherlands and other countries. Now, he feels the time is right to consolidate and make use of this experience – in his work at Deloitte as well as at BCCH. He teaches company management at the Central European University (CEU) from time to time. “My pet topic is Strategic Sourcing a rather ‘down-to-earth’ subject. When I have the chance, I share my experience during lectures at the university,” he says.
In summary, he emphasizes that “we would like to change and present a different image of the BCCH. This new Council was given about two years to carry out this mission. Work has begun with great enthusiasm and I think we’re doing well, so far.”
(Editor's note: since the interview, Vazul Tóth left Deloitte and joined Vodafone Hungary as Head of Business Transformation)
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