Born: Recklinghausen, Germany
Education: Undergraduate and graduate physics degrees, University of Dortmund, Germany; Postdoctoral studies, University of Utah
What is the best business lesson you’ve learned?
Listen to what customers and people are saying. I think you can never underestimate that if you just openly listen to what people are saying, and not being too provocative in your questions, you can learn a lot, and I think that is the best thing you can do. Wherever you are, learn from your subordinates and learn from your bosses.
What traits or skills are essential for a business leader?
It’s important to try not to be somebody you aren’t, to make use of your own personality and interact with the right people. So it’s just to be authentic and honest, and don’t just follow a bunch of guidelines that are written down in some management book.
What is one universal truth you’ve learned about leading a business?
I have only one rule, and that is first to always apply common sense. Most things can be solved by applying common sense, whatever business you are in.
What is your definition of success?
It’s long-term growth stronger than the market growth. Of course, it is also connected to the market success, otherwise the company does not survive. But it’s growing faster than the market growth over a long period of time.