“When you move on it’s nice to know you have played an important role, that you have some kind of legacy”
With the modesty that characterized Max Chuard’s 20-year career at Temenos, the former CEO says:
“When I started here, I didn’t know much about technology, much about software. But I was really committed to the success of Temenos. I had no personal agenda. My only agenda was to make Temenos successful.”
The professional and personal strengths that took him from software novice to the very top of Temenos perfectly reflect the values that have helped the company transform the banking industry. Namely a desire to challenge the status quo, a commitment to make things happen, a willingness to collaborate, as well as caring about colleagues, clients, partners and the wider community.
Max might not have known much about software, but he did know banking – he joined Temenos from JP Morgan after Temenos founder George Koukis convinced him that the future of the industry lay in software. “I got inspired by his vision, what he was trying to do [to transform banking],” he says.
From day one, Max challenged the status quo, working hard in special projects and then as head of mergers and acquisitions. At the time, this was a pivotal role for Temenos, which was trying to scale quickly to help drive banking’s digital transformation. Over the next decade, he led more than 10 deals totaling over $1 billion.
But Max doesn’t just embody Temenos values; he has actively tried to find them and nurture them in others. “Everyone who came into contact with my leadership style [knows] I was pushing those values, because they are fundamental to the success of the company,” he says.
Indeed, according to him, his greatest achievement is not the $1 billion of deals he oversaw, or being chief executive of a $12 billion company, it’s that he has embodied and lived the values and ensured they remain the guiding star for his colleagues to this day.
In reality, however, he’s contributed far more. As Chief Financial Officer, he put in place processes to help scale the company. “We did acquisitions to gain scale and achieve a faster time to market. But without processes it’s difficult to digest acquisitions,” he says.
Under his tenure as COO he put in place the partner program that cultivated the ecosystem Temenos can boast of today, helping the company in terms of efficiency and growth. He also firmly established Temenos in the strategically important North American market, laying strong foundations for the continued growth we see today.
And, as CEO, he has overseen perhaps one of Temenos’ most important strategic moves – shifting from being a company that licenses its software to providing software-as-a-service (SaaS). “That transformation is now well on the way and we are almost there,” he says.
Over his last years, Max made it a priority to nurture a new generation of leaders who would be ready to take over from a largely founder leadership team, ready to lead the company onto its next phase of growth.
“I’m very confident in the leadership team I’ve put in place – these are industry leaders with vision and talent, who embody the Temenos values. I leave knowing that the future of the company is in good hands.”
And those Temenosian values certainly run deep with Max. One month after stepping down as CEO, he is as committed to the company as ever. He’s helping with the transition to a new CEO and is immensely proud of being made a Founding Fellow.
“I’m supporting the company in anything it needs, or that the customers need… When you move on it’s nice to know you have played an important role, that you have some kind of legacy. I’m proud. It’s my family. It will always be and now I will always be associated with Temenos, which is fantastic.”