tv Studio 1.0 Bloomberg April 3, 2016 12:30pm-1:01pm EDT
haslinda: thank you so much for being on high flyers. it has been a wonderful experience. thank you. harald: thank you so much. caroline: thank you. ♪ what do you think of those days >> one of the founders saw that many people got sick and couldn't get any help because there was no modern medicine. he contacted his friend where we are from and this friend was a pharmacist like my grandfather. he asked him to join. so they opened the first modern , medicine factory of thailand. then on, they started to do great things. one of the really great achievements is to build all of the canals. after that, they implemented the first telephone system between thailand and germany.
haslinda: there is a picture of your grandfather sitting with the prince making a phone call. >> at that time, princes send their children to england for an education. the prime minister of communication was sitting with my grandfather and talking to his father and he said -- i cannot speak thai. [laughter] haslinda: you came to thailand in your 20's. but you always knew you said you , always knew you wanted to be in asia, that you wanted to run -- you would end up running to company. why did you want to do it? harald: i think i am an obedient son. my father wanted me to do it. haslinda: you're the eldest. harald: to assist as the eldest. my brother wasn't keen to do it.
my youngest sister is an artist. so as i. we were fed by thailand. all of my upbringing was paid by thailand. very natural. we have lots of thai visitors and we visited thailand before. i didn't know i would run it, but i would follow my father's wishes and work in the company. i thought i would run it on a much later stage. i did not know at 302i would have to run it already. haslinda: you are being groomed to eventually run the company. what vision do you have? how would you do it differently from dad? >> the nice thing is that he had me when he was quite young. so now, we can actually do it together and have a vision for the future together which makes my life a little easier. it makes it more comfortable for
him. he always felt like it was very tough for him. he really didn't want that for me. i was thankful i didn't have to do that and i'm not in that position. the nice thing is we can do it together for the future. we look at the future together which is a nice thing to do. we are from different generations. so we have different points of , view. i think we will figure it out together. the thing that we also see is how is one different from the other? every person has a different character. really, what we are really building on is to keep our culture going. we know this is the success of the company from the beginning. business with compassion to live , that. it was given to us from the founders and taken over by my great-grandfather. from us, passed along. this is something ingrained. we know this is how we succeeded. we want to make sure it stays on for the future. haslinda: in the early days,
foundation forhe modern thailand. in the future, what role does the company want to play? harald: the country has become so big. think in the energy field and in the internet space, we can participate there. what we can definitely participate in is education where we support a great project teaching kindergarten children to have fun with science and education training, nursing, symphony orchestras. fewland is one of the very programs -- countries in the world where they have a complete list of life and the national parks and they are really endangered.
we try to save them. i think there are a number of activities where we can be active and have a national impact and try to get other companies and people to join us there. ♪ >> coming up. caroline: i wasn't one of the kids you knew from the beginning what i wanted to be. i always said i wanted to be a n explorer.
has gone from a small pharmacy in bangkok to an industrial conglomerate. businesses ranging from health care, power, shipping, and luxury, as well. lifestyle, basically. why do you need today or supply diversify to such a large extent? harald: we had department stores, lots of consumer products we were selling. we ordered consumer products in europe and put the b grimm ran on it. i still have a pocket watch with the brand on it. fast-forward afterward. we were appropriated. when my uncle and my father started again, they became distributors for european brands. haslinda: when you guys first took over as ceo of the company, it was just 10 years after you joined the company. harald: we were importing products.
there was a really bad deviation from thailand, so the deutsche mark doubled in a year. we went through an unfortunate crisis. so my uncle and my father said ok you handle it if you want to, , which i wanted to. we came out of it. we changed the management from foreigners to thai and we made a venture with our suppliers from abroad. we had a joint venture with carrier which is part of united technologies. number newith a of other companies. we thought we wanted to go back to the roots in a way that we have our own business. we wanted to go more vertical into more manufacturing. we started a number of other manufacturing activities. we started our own business.
the first one was real estate. we built some office buildings for rent. later on, we went into some participation teleconference concessions. the really big one is energy. that was a few years later. when the market opened for private companies to go into the energy field, we started to produce electricity and industrial power and that is now our biggest business. haslinda: it is a huge company as it is. close to 2000 employees. there are bigger plans ahead. talent is a huge issue, especially in thailand. caroline: right now, people can choose where they work and they are very much concerned about is the philosophy or culture of the company in line with their aspirations. talent, for us, is an issue.
especially, in such a competitive field. the energy business is very competitive. people building new power plants. what makes us different is our culture. this is the reason why people come to us. even the last merger we had, they wanted us to buy them rather than another competitor to buy them because of the business culture. we see this is the reason why they stay with us but this is also why the new people come to us and enjoy working there and realize their own values and aspirations. haslinda: you also encourage on the job training. there are policies in place, programs in place to help that. harald: we have huge training programs, especially in the power sector and other medical sectors. you need constant training and development. what we see thailand really needs a lot and what we have in pushing very much in pushing to a good stage is locational
-- vocational training. what is a really good example is the vocational school run by -- the royal highness and this german system. they have a school that engages the children. they get the training at the companies. at the end, they are very professional. the german system is the companies engage young kids and train them in the company and send them to vocational schools. we have a pilot project, the industrial federation, and it now seems to be a government policy. haslinda: speaking of trading, you have gone through extensive training. as far as i understand, you have gone through eight apprenticeships?
caroline: a lot. i really enjoy it. i started really early, before university, even. i asked my father, before university? he said no, you're going to university before working full-time. haslinda: what have you done? caroline: i worked from banking to hotel industry to marketing to sales. really, a variety. i really enjoyed that. wasn't a kid who knew from the beginning what she wanted to be. i always thought i wanted to be an explorer. the different apprenticeships, they taught me every time something different. it was a different country, different industry. haslinda: what was the most difficult? caroline: for me to work in an , environment where the culture was an in-line with what i like. -- wasn't in line with what i
like. i found that the most difficult. i am quite adaptable. this is part of my character and learning. --anaged to 2 million chameleon myself into any atmosphere. for me, the best experiences are memories of exciting culture, a lot of young people, a lot of development going on. very much in line, what we try to do now is the relevant for the young people who are joining us as well as the senior management. this kind of atmosphere, what we want to build or are building and have b grimm is something i really like. harald: one thing to add, i am already 60 years old. so caroline represents the younger generation. we try to have the younger generation take part in the building of our company. in the energy business, we have
the most senior people sit together, talk about strategy. we have all of the young people sit together and talk about strategy. interestingly, they all come up with a similar direction. everybody thinks it is their direction which works really well. a separate internet base where we have only young people coming in. haslinda: talking about getting your hands dirty, you got your hands dirty in the early years. starting with something to do with welding. harald: in the beginning, i studied mechanical engineering and business. later, my father thought i should finish earlier so i dropped the mechanical part. in germany, in order to study, you have to work in a factory as an apprentice to be a mechanic.
the first day, you have to file for a hours. you have to stand for eight hours. you are used to sitting and now you have to stand for eight hours. you do welding, machining. you get your hands dirty and you have to get up before 6:00. at 6:45.d haslinda: you appreciate the difficulties. harald: i think it is really important. in thailand, all engineers should do that. >> coming up.
caroline: i enjoy languages. haslinda: what does it mean for you to be thai? you were born in germany, educated in switzerland. harald: i have this german background and germans are very principled. haslinda: you sound thai. harald: many people say that. over time, i have become a combination. i still have something which i really like about german upbringing or german culture. there are something that i really like about thai. the -- we talk about the buddhists, even though the christians and buddhists are different, i think in thailand, buddhism is more expressed in the way of life. thai people are really flexible and willing to change her that is a great thing. germans are really great and
really principled and thoughtful and professional. what we try to do is to combine the two. haslinda: you go a long way back in terms of how long you have been in thailand. it was 1978? harald: yes, i came in 1978. my grandfather came in 1973. haslinda: you brought a wife later on, a princess from which -- from litchetenstein. it is not a traditional way to impress the wife. caroline: she was very adventurous. she says she could have lived in a hut in africa. [laughter] haslinda: how were the early days like for both of you? harald: it was interesting. the culture is so different. even though i knew thai people before, it is still really different.
i had to take on so much work. my father gave me new responsibilities so often all the time. i was sure i can do it. then i married in 1981. , caroline was born in 1982. in 1982, my father got so sick, we thought he would die that year. i had to go to look after my father in the hospital. at that time, we didn't have a night nurse. turns to lookk after caroline. after a while, i got used to it. i sorted out the business challenge. then felix was born. ,then we had the night nurse. her father, it is very interesting. we hang a photo of austria, a landscape he loves in there. and that saved him.
he wanted to go back there. we put him on a plane, the doctors all said he would die. he didn't die. he lived another 15 years. afterwards, life became better and stronger. haslinda: somewhat normal. harald: so then i became the ceo and then we had ups and downs in thailand. haslinda: apart from the business, there is another love for both of you. in fact, that is horses -- in fact, that is for the family. that is horses. what is it about horses that makes it so special? caroline: i think they are beautiful animals to start with. they are very gentle. they are very kind and forgiving. that is a beautiful combination. haslinda: they speak to you. you have a particular experience? caroline: we had an animal whisperer come to our place and she attempted to teach us how to communicate with animals. it was quite an interesting experience.
again, mind opening and fantastic. when we asked the animals some questions, they gave us interesting comments back. things that we would have never dreamed up. haslinda: such as? caroline: one of my horses says she wants to be a superstar. [laughter] we thought that was interesting. another one of my horses says she would like to be a mother. i thought maybe we can't help you. very sweet things. another one was, i asked him is anything i can learn from him? he was a strong horse that impressed me. i wasn't a good at writing him yet. he yet. on, take it easy i , will take you there. it was a special experience. haslinda: you are also responsible for setting up the thai polo club.
time polos, we have a club and an equestrian club. a nice landscape next to the hills. we combined six hotspots in one club. we have now racing, jumping. eight different tasks. people come and enjoy it. it is a very relaxing place. haslinda: why do you call it a happy place? harald: we want people to be happy there. and they are. there weeople come , like to have a business with compassion there. when people are on a horse, they feel good. when i am on a horse, immediately, i feel good. no matter what, i feel good on the horse. caroline: out there, you are in the green countryside of thailand which is beautiful. , you have a big, blue sky and you can go anywhere without worries. it is a place for family, young and old come all generation, all backgrounds. it is a very free plays.
-- place. nobody thinks about work there. everybody starts fresh, regenerates, energizes and is ready to face the real-world. harald: and the equestrian federation, the president of the federation, we try to widen the base. we can see how people enjoy coming to our club and how they enjoy this part. we organized the first polo tournament in vietnam. we bring our horses to cambodia. in cambodia we have the , federation to develop a bit. we are good friends with each other. we have the horses stay there and then they go to vietnam. vietnam once -- wants to develop a polo and equestrian federation. you make new friends. haslinda: you play polo with the likes of prince william, prince harry, the royal family and cash in malaysia, brunei.
how do you respond to criticism that it is quite an elitist sport? harald: horse riding, if you go to europe, it is widespread. in germany, you have a million people, and france you have a million people, in england, you have a million people. in thailand, when you do barrel racing or cross-country riding, people from all walks of right -- life come. we have two policies. one is to make it really wide, widely accessible, financially accessible. and at the same time we want the , top, too. haslinda: thank you so much for being on high flyers. it has been a wonderful experience. thank you. harald: thank you so much. all the best to you. caroline: thank you. ♪
♪ grexit on cory johnson and for emily chang. this is the best of bloomberg west. we will bring you the top interviews and news stories. coming up, tesla showing some ankle this week. giving buyers their first peak at the model 3. we'll bring you the highlights. plus microsoft on artificial , intelligence after an embarrassing ai meltdown. the next computing game changer. it is getting crowded in the market for music streaming. we're going to check with two