How long have you been with Andaman Cruises? What’s your position and what attracted you to the job?
I joined the company as a General Manager in June 2013. Andaman Cruises is the leading luxury yacht charter company here on the Phuket and well-known for its modern fleet and high standard of service. For example, international celebrities such as football star Cristiano Ronaldo, Hollywood actor Dolph Lundgren and top model Heidi Klum have all been on a cruises with us. It is a great pleasure working for a company that enjoys such a good reputation. I feel honoured to be part of the team.
What were you doing / where were you living & working before?
For the last two years I was managing Andaman Travel, a small luxury travel agency, which is focused on organizsing individual vacations to Thailand for VIPs and celebrities. Before moving to Asia, I worked as Senior Manager Marketing & PR at the Russian energy giant Gazprom, the world’s biggest natural gas producer.
Where are you from?
I am from Berlin, the capital of Germany and one of the most fascinating cities in Europe. I spent most of my life there before I decided to take a new challenge in Thailand.
What’s special / different about Andaman Cruises? What are its unique points?
The quality. Andaman Cruises stands for premium hospitality and an excellent service. That is the reason we are valued by high end luxury resorts, which are really interested in cooperating with us. We share the same philosophy and guarantee the same service standards.
Tell us something about your role in the business?
I am completely new to the yacht business, but that is not a big deal. I mean, if you want to market or sell a Ferrari, you just need enthusiasm and passion for the product. And that is not very difficult. It is the same situation in the luxury yacht business. Furthermore I want to take up the cudgels for my team, which really is an asset for the company. Without them Andaman Cruises would not be the same.
What are the main challenges as they relate to your role?
As there is more and more competition in the yacht business, our aim is to keep our leading market position and to increase the number of charters. At the same time we always want to improve the quality of our product.
…and what are the biggest difficulties you have to overcome?
The weather – to be honest.
What is your main target market?
We have been welcoming guests from all over the world: Europe, Middle East, China, Russia, USA and Australia.
What do you like most about what you do now?
In my eyes it is a gift from heaven to work in the yacht business. The most interesting is to deal with different clients from different countries. It is really fascinating to get in touch with such a diversity of people and to learn about new cultures.
What do you (and the business) hope / expect to achieve within the next 3-5 years?
We would like to complete our fleet with a few more yachts due to the higher demand over the last years. In addition we want to extend our business and to focus on corporate events and incentives as well. Among our clients are BMW and Panasonic; we hosted their management incentives onboard our yachts.
What do you see as your biggest successes to date?
From my personal point of view my biggest success was the opportunity to move to another country and to explore a different part of the world. I was well-situated in Germany as I worked at one of the world’s most successful companies for five years. Many friends asked me why I quit my job? And I said, why not? I came to Thailand for the first time in 2008; it really touched me and it was like an emotional firework.
Is Andaman Cruises involved in any CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) programmes?
Yes, we have been supporting different charity events such as the Phuket Has Been Good to Us Foundation with vouchers, shirts etc. I am truly convinced that a successful company should be socially committed and involved, especially in social and educational projects for kids. Kids are our future and they deserve to have a good start in life.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I would say that my leadership style is democratic-oriented. I believe in team spirit. Everyone should be able to participate and to bring in ideas to create a better company. But in the end I will make the final decision.
What is your over-riding ambition at this stage in your life?
My ambition is to be happy.