Curt De Greff, MBA ’77:
The office far away from home
Going to work used to mean generally one
thing: you left the comfort of your home
for some place else, worked there for eight
hours, returned home, and did this five days
a week, fifty weeks a year. Today, as Curt De
Greff, senior vice president of finance for the
Americas at Regus, can tell you, that model
is changing. “It’s a world of conference calls
and videoconferencing now,” De Greff says.
“People have more flexibility.” Because of the emergence of this new accessibility and a more global marketplace, Regus, founded only twenty-one years ago, has become the largest operator of business centers in the world, with over 1,000 locations internationally in 450 cities and 75 countries.
“We work with every kind of business —
from the very small to the very big,” De Greff
says, adding that the range of services Regus
offers has every type of businessperson in mind. A home-based entrepreneur tired of holding
meetings in coffee shops can reserve office space a few days a month. A law firm that wants
prestigious and international office addresses on its business card can sign on for a virtual
office package in a variety of locations. Billion-dollar corporations — oil conglomerates, telecom
companies, computer tech firms — come to Regus when they want a temporary or permanent
international base, without having to jump through all the hoops necessary to set up permanent
offices or deal with local bureaucracies. In Latin America, especially, De Greff says, the concept
of customizable offices has been taking off. Under his leadership over the past dozen years, the
number of Regus centers in the region has skyrocketed from two to fifty — a growth rate five
times that of the company at large.
Based in Florida, De Greff is on the road half the year, traveling as far north as Toronto and as far south as Buenos Aires. With an Up In the Air-like 3 million air miles to his name, he knows well what it’s like to spend a lot of time on the road, working from satellite offices. While he continues to expand the business in the Americas, he’s also taken on a new challenge — establishing regional service centers for the administration of the company itself.
The work, De Greff says, is various and enjoyable: “A day doesn’t go by that I don’t use what I learned at Cornell. Every day is something new — I love it.”