"Give yourself time to develop solid skills and an appealing personality. It’s the best investment you can make for yourself and your employer."
Singapore Reinsurers' Association
An Interview with Mr. Marc Haushofer
by BEATRICE MORLEY | APRIL 2020
How would you describe your leadership style?
It’s probably a combination of transformational and transactional management. I greatly believe in superior communication and the creation of an environment where everyone gets close to his best. And then hit the deal.
Whilst I believe that transparency and structure are inevitable tools in this context, I also very much encourage less hierarchical behaviour to boost creativity and entrepreneurship.
However, which of these two leadership styles is more applicable will depend on the specific situation. I don’t believe in an one size fits all approach.
What’s one important leadership lesson you’ve learned in your career?
Learn from mistakes.
Who are your role models? Who inspires you? and why?
I don’t have a single role model. It’s many people inspiring me for what they do and who they’re. My family, friends, colleagues, people who potentially sacrifice their health to serve the community during this crisis. And so many more.
What has been the biggest challenge you have encountered? Why and how did you handle it?
I had and have to deal with numerous challenges in and outside my corporate life. Probably the biggest one relates to our own personality. How do we stay on top of everything. Evolve. Reflect. Motivate. Learn and give direction. And listen to others on this journey.
To me every day means an opportunity to accomplish something. I’m blessed with the think positive gene. This helps well.
What are the biggest opportunities you think are available to women today?
I’ve always worked with well diversified teams during my over 35 years in the industry. Whether it’s ethnic or religious background, gender and not to forget: age and experience. My ambition has always been to allow everyone to visibly contribute to the objectives given to us. Now to your question: I don’t believe that any of the aforementioned attributes scores higher or lower in for instance our industry though it may be the case in some areas where physical strength plays a prominent role. An encouraging example is the profession of a pilot, which for a century, used to be a male-only domain.
Hence I see copious opportunities for women in the financial industry and beyond. Many of the companies that are members of our association have been filling managerial positions with women these days and I believe this will continue. So go for it! It’s a great time as HR executives and their boards are equally sensitised to achieve balance.
How do you get your leadership team on board with diversity and inclusion initiatives?
Some leaders prefer to replicate their own personality in the teams they manage. I’m not in favour of this mindset - at least not in my specific context – as I feel it doesn’t create enough dynamics and learning culture. None of us can always deliver the perfect solution to every challenge. It takes plenty of experience, know how and soft skills to deal with our present and future. I for instance built most of my corporate life in pre-digital times. Whilst I was able to adopt solid knowledge in this space, it is my younger colleagues who undoubtedly carry more expertise here. I’m happy to learn from them as much as they may benefit from areas I know well. It’s a give and take without acting too hierarchical! That’s the corporate culture I really like in the context of diversity and inclusion.
What would the person you are today say to the person you were on your first day at work?
Get prepared for a long and fascinating journey. And always remember that Rome wasn’t built in one day. Give yourself time to develop solid skills and an appealing personality. It’s the best investment you can make for yourself and your employer.
How do you handle stress and pressure?
I respond to pressure fairly well. To me it’s a normal thing when you’re ambitious and create your own high expectations. And it makes your day busy and fast flying which I feel is a good thing.
Stress is on the other hand not healthy. It’s the negative side of pressure and shouldn’t be tolerated too long. But it naturally happens to many of us at times. I’ve always tried to allow myself regular sports, quality time with my family and friends, reading and music to preserve my physical and mental balance. So far so good.
What is one interesting fact that we will be surprised to know about you?
Not sure whether it’s interesting but I love cooking! In particular those dishes I learned from my grandmother many years ago. It’s a way to keep her alive to me.
More about Marc:
Marc Haushofer is Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer, Asia Pacific of Validus Re. He joined Validus Re in 2008 to head the Singapore Branch Office which underwrites general reinsurance business in Asia. He also leads the Singapore Reinsurers' Association (SRA) as its Chairman since January 2017.
Marc has over 35 years of experience in the insurance/reinsurance industry. Prior to Validus Re, he was the Chief Executive Officer & Principal Officer of Munich Reinsurance Company, Singapore Branch, heading Munich Re's South-East-Asian Hub. Before that he was a Deputy Member of the Executive Management at Munich Reinsurance Company, Munich.
Marc is a certified Versicherungskaufmann which is the German equivalent to Associate of The Chartered Insurance Institute (ACII). He also holds a Certificate in both Strategic Management and Financials for Executives from St. Gallen Management School. In addition, he successfully accomplished an Executive Management stint with the London Business School.