PEOPLE Alexander Neumann
Managing Director of HOCHTIEF PPP Solutions Netherlands
Always thinking in terms of solutions
Alexander Neumann never tries to avoid challenges. On the contrary, he often seeks them out. For example, six years ago he took advantage of the opportunity to set up a new branch of the company in a foreign country, HOCHTIEF PPP Solutions Netherlands, of which he is the Managing Director.
>> You always have to be totally concentrated, because if you aren’t you’ll get hurt. <<
Back then, the Netherlands was an interesting market for HOCHTIEF, and it was clear that setting up the new branch would require someone on site. Neumann had just successfully completed a large-scale project in Thuringia: The section of the A4 highway whose construction he had managed went into operation a year before the scheduled end of the contract. Now he was ready to accept new management assignments.
That’s why he and his family moved to Amsterdam. This move meant a new start at many levels: a new job, a new city, a new language, and a new home. Added to this was a new sport he got to know through a friend: boxing. At first glance, this would seem to be an unusual choice for a man whose daily work consists of developing solutions and defusing conflicts. After all, compromise clearly doesn’t play a big role in boxing. But Neumann has never gone in for competing in the ring—he focuses on the training, which is tough and challenging. Neumann, who is 46, likes to have tough workouts that push him to his limits.
Nonetheless, boxing was difficult for him at first. “Many people underestimate the fact that boxing is also very mentally demanding. You always have to be totally concentrated, because if you aren’t you’ll get hurt,” he admits. Over time, boxing has enhanced more than just his fitness. “For me, the most important aspect was learning to stay focused and alert even under extreme stress,” he says. This ability also helps him in his job. He says that especially during turbulent phases it’s important to keep a cool head so that you can identify solutions better. That was his original intention. In any event, he’s ideally equipped to deal with future challenges.