Better know a CEO: Carlos H. Zarlenga, GE Lighting CFO for the EMEA region


Zarlenga has been chief financial officer of GE Lighting since June 2008. In this role, he directly leads a team of 300 finance professionals across more than 20 countries in Europe, Middle East and Africa. Before his current assignment, he was sourcing director with GE Lighting and earlier he worked as finance manager for the supply chain in the EMEA region. From 2004 to 2006, he worked for GE Capital as financial planning and analysis director in charge of the EMEA region. In the year before that, he was senior audit manager at General Electric Corporate. He joined General Electric in 1998, and participated in the company’s financial management program. He started his career with AC Nielsen in Buenos Aires in 1997, where he was associate consultant for a year. Zarlenga, a Spanish citizen, holds a master’s degree in economics from the Universidad de Belgrano in Buenos Aires. He speaks fluent Spanish, English and Portuguese.


1. What is your motto?

Own your destiny.

2. What talent would you most like to have?

To play the violin or guitar. (Actually, any instrument!)

3. Who is your favorite hero in fiction?

Sisyphus, the absurd hero.

4. What kind of job did you dream of when you were a child?

Race car driver. My mother did not agree.

5. What is your greatest regret?

I don’t carry the heavy bag of regrets, I’m always looking forward.

6. What is your greatest fear?

Brazil winning another football World Cup.

7. What is your most treasured possession?

My music record collection.

8. What is your favorite Hungarian dish?

Goose liver. It is simply out of this world.

9. What is your favorite Hungarian word?

Repülőtér, igen and három.

10. What is the weirdest thing you have experienced in Hungary?

Cave walking. One time is enough to last for a long time.

11. What are the activities that help you to cope with stress?

Family and opera. The Budapest Opera House is world-class.

12. Which word do you tend to overuse?


13. What is your favorite gadget?

iPad & iPhone combo. Almost don’t need a PC.

14. What does your dream dinner party look like (occasion, venue, guests, menu, music or whatever is important to you)?

Summer, outdoor, barbecue, family and friends, and the old hungry family pet.

15. What is your dream to live to see?

The pill for “eternal life” developed.

16. What three things would you take with you to a deserted island?

A satellite phone, sun block and my scuba diving gear.

17. What is your greatest extravagance?

Leisure travel. Recurring, and often.

18. What is your favorite holiday destination?

St Maarten. Holidays need to include a beach. But the 12-hour plane ride is a huge deterrent.

19. What would you do with €1 million?

Save it.

20. What was your favorite toy when you were a child?

My football.


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