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It’s great to be part of this team!

Alex Reindler has just moved from Nairobi to Hamburg to take over the position as General Manager of Global Health Care. A big step – but not the first step out of his comfort zone in his career. In an interview, he talks about the Health Care spirit, entrepreneurship, and his first impressions being back at the headquarters.

Alex Reindler

Alex, what did you do before you started this new position as General Manager of Global Health Care?

Alex Reindler: I’ve been working for Beiersdorf for more than 22 years now and spent 14 of these years in 8 different countries. For the last 4 years I had a very entrepreneurial role as General Manager Central, East and West Africa, in the business development of sub-Saharan Africa out of Nairobi, including one of the most expanding markets like Nigeria. I have always enjoyed working with different people, in different cultural contexts, and I see it as a privilege to have lived in many fascinating countries. 

It seems as if you like to step out of your comfort zone...

Alex Reindler: It’s simple: If you step out of your comfort zone it is all about growth and making new experiences. Not being able to read any of the road signs or the menu in Russia, trying to be patient when meetings take forever or start extremely late, being on stage and being summoned to dance with the best African dancers while being filmed and adjusting to new ways of leadership and to new surroundings – in my case together with my family. The learning curve is immense and in the end it is worth it because you get a whole bunch of new experiences.

On a scale from 1 to 10: How much was your new step into the Health Care business a step out of your comfort zone?

Alex Reindler: Hm, maybe a seven. Going to headquarters is a step out of my comfort zone. Having worked in so many markets I feel familiar with the local business, which has a fast pace and where everybody is aligned on a clear target. In headquarters, you have to bring more people together, manage more stakeholders. Why isn’t it a ten? Because I feel very comfortable with thinking and acting on a global level and being responsible for a business. It is a big chance to work with so many great people making our business more successful.

Alex Reindler

Why did you choose Health Care?

Alex Reindler: First of all, our Health Care brands have a real purpose as they improve people’s lives everyday – secondly due to the Health Care spirit and the opportunity to develop it further. It’s simply great to be part of this team. The third reason is the entrepreneurial challenge. We have very different, successful local businesses, so it’s never a routine. This makes it very interesting. We have to think outside the box. The Beyond organization gives a great framework to do so.

What is an entrepreneurial attitude for you?

Alex Reindler: Honestly, if you look at real entrepreneurs, we still have a lot to learn and a lot to do differently. Look at the entrepreneurial spirit you find in Africa. It’s a challenging environment and people have to find their way. So you make up your mind and come up with new ideas or solutions. I really believe in the principle of managing a business as if it were my own company. This makes you take ownership and the initiative for what you believe is right and how it should be done. Decisions get easier and you often automatically do what is best for the business.

How would you describe your leadership style?

Alex Reindler: For me, a good day is a day when I see people smile. Smiling means two things: Having fun, enjoying work, and also thriving and being successful as a team and a person. As a leader, I want to help creating this environment, where we as a team win and people flourish. Sometimes people wait for the success to be happy. I personally think that’s wrong, you can have fun on the way and you can be happy from the start. Furthermore, I find it important to act, not just talk about something but really do it. Even if this means we make mistakes sometimes. And last, but not least, I try to make us better as a team every day and foster this “play to win” mentality. Thus we all head into one direction – to succeed as a team.

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About the editor: Ines Kandel

Ines is responsible for the communication around our Pharmacy and Selective Brands like Eucerin, Hansaplast and La Prairie within the Corporate Communications team. Prior to this task, she worked on various communication topics for Beiersdorf – including HR, Strategy, R&D and Finance – and became an expert in the area of Issues Management and Crisis Communication. In addition, she manages the network of our PR Managers worldwide. Just recently, she spend some months on a short term assignment at Beiersdorf in France – another great international experience.