Creating Your Own Career Pathway At FGF: An Interview With Alex Kurnikov

Alex, how did you start your journey at FGF?

I joined the Commodity Sourcing team at FGF as a Specialist in February of 2019. Before joining, I spent several years in various roles in the agricultural commodity space, so this was an incredible opportunity to take the next steps in my career. As I learned more about FGF, our products, scale, passion for excellence, and the impact I can make, I realized there is nowhere else I’d rather be. I took on my current role as Vice President of Strategic Sourcing in December 2022.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

When I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do and what to study, my parents told me that it never hurts to be good with numbers, so I went to school and obtained degrees in Finance and Accounting. After my studies, I got into asset management and spent time working with mutual funds where I learned more about different markets and how to identify opportunities in times of uncertainty. Prior to joining FGF, I spent several years in the agricultural commodity space where I bought, sold, and hedged a good-sized portfolio of commodities.

What do you do at FGF? 

I am privileged to lead a fantastic Strategic Sourcing team here at FGF, taking care of commodities, ingredients, packaging, and MRO. My team contributes to FGF’s success by searching the world for the best possible supply options to make sure that we always capture the best value the market can offer.

In the current reality of extreme inflation, constant supply disruptions and uncertainty on the global scale, we continue to focus on building strong, long-term partnerships with select suppliers across all categories. This will ensure that FGF has a stable supply of competitively priced raw materials in years to come.

In addition to physical supply availability, we are also managing price risks for a large portfolio of inputs through our expert knowledge of the farm-to-fork chains, and advanced financial instruments as well as my team’s ability to spot excellent opportunities early on.

What do you love about your role?

I am very fortunate to say that I love everything about my job! I am extremely competitive and enjoy being challenged. I need to keep learning to stay engaged, and this role provides me with all of this and then some. I love to develop and execute strategies, negotiate, and solve problems with extremely tight deadlines.

What is your style of leadership and how does it feel to lead a team at FGF?

My style of leadership is to empower my team to be their authentic selves.   The team is very diverse in every way possible, and I am so happy to provide them with all the resources they need. As a leader, I am most passionate about developing my team because this is how I measure my success.

In your opinion, what’s the secret sauce that makes FGF a great place to work?

We are given enough freedom and resources to bring our ideas to life at a very good scale. In my view, this is essential for anyone who wants to grow professionally and personally. Freedom and resources, managing risks, using different tools, and a lot of changes but nothing gets in the way.

How has your role changed post-pandemic?

It is difficult to say how my role changed post-pandemic, I started my current role in October 2020 (during the pandemic). With the change, I took on more responsibility and a larger team – however, the change wasn’t necessarily pandemic related. One big change for me was the ability to work in a hybrid position. I live 126 km away from the office, so this made a big impact for me. It has brought time back to my schedule and I am able to accomplish more. My work-life flexibility without the commute every day has significantly increased.

How has your team changed since you started at FGF?

Across our team, we now have a very nice mix of new team members who are very passionate about making a difference as well as experienced team members who have been with FGF for many years. More importantly, the expertise and approach each of the Team Members brings me confidence that we, as a company, are well-positioned to meet the sourcing challenges of today and tomorrow.

What advice do you have for anyone starting a job at FGF?

I feel it’s extremely important for anyone who is joining FGF to embrace speed, change, and uncertainty. Focus on the impact you can make and things you can learn. If you bring your energy, ideas and positive attitude to the table, you will do great!

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