Few people are as passionate about risk management as Socrates Coudounaris.

Currently executive director of risk (EMEA) at US-based reinsurer RGA, he has been in the insurance and risk management sector for more than 20 years.

During this time, he has helped senior management and boards proactively identify and manage risks and opportunities.

“The one thing that inspires me the most, has led me, and keeps me, in this career, is the opportunity to constantly interact with people. Risk management amalgamates both art and science together,” he says.

Coudounaris is also chairman of the Institute of Risk Management (IRM) where he has had the opportunity to further promote the value of risk management and collaborate on expanding the institute’s guidance, thought leadership and qualifications for the financial services community.

The judges particularly praised Coudounaris’s work at the IRM and being the face of the organisation.

Coudounaris says his ambitions are to keep reinforcing the value enterprise risk management can bring.

“I would further like to see industry leaders think tactically and strategically about change and to question whether and how a threat can be turned into an opportunity; reinforcing the message that risk management is an enabler in an organisation and risk professionals will be key strategic advisers in this journey,” he says.

In Coudounaris’s view, with persistent failures and misdoings, the reputation of the financial services industry needs to improve. And risk management can play a role here.

“Insurers can positively take action in how they engage with society in a more open and inclusive manner and I would hope to see this achieved by industry leaders encouraging a healthier risk culture.”

Coudounaris says he would like to see re/insurance sector leaders think critically about their future, anticipate further disruption to the sector and build resilience and agility in their business models.

“Those who consider challenges around data, digital disruption and communication with society will be in a better position to tackle a challenging risk environment in 2019 and beyond.”