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Dominik von Wantoch Rekowski, Atmos

Suite Talk: Dominik von Wantoch-Rekowski, Atmos MedizinTechnik Asia

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Dominik von Wantoch-Rekowski, MD of Atmos MedizinTechnik Asia, jogs down memory lane, to share his early experiences in a family business, and the pleasures of working in Southeast Asia.

You started managing the family business at 17, how did that experience shape you?

It was a great experience. My parents woke up one day and decided to work for themselves instead of working for others. They explained to me that everybody in the family is needed to help, in order to start a business without significant capital reserves.

I joined the company on the founding day and started with simple tasks in the warehouse and office.

During my university studies, I managed to apply newly acquired knowledge to the company and was assigned more challenging tasks year by year. When I left, I was responsible for a significant share of the revenue in Europe.

The only issue was that shoe design, manufacturing and wholesale was my parent’s dream and not mine.

Very quickly you moved into the healthcare industry. What steered you in this direction?

I was required to study and work abroad while at a German management school. Since I liked Southeast Asia, I chose Bangkok.

Fresenius Kabi was my first employer in the healthcare industry and I knew straightaway that my future is in healthcare and in Asia.

I learned a lot from my superior and realised this is an industry where I can pursue a career and do something meaningful – help to improve the lives of people.

Having been with Atmos for four years, how have you seen the company evolve?

Atmos is a German family-owned business with more than 120 years of experience. In the last four years new business units have been created.

I enjoy working in an organisation where the passion to grow is combined with a good working culture. This is why we call ourselves the ‘Atmos Family’.

Besides our regional sales activities, we have won several OEM customers for our production in Malaysia and managed to become the centre of excellence for our sterile accessories.

After being with the company for only a few weeks, I was invited to use ‘Du’ towards the owner family. That proved to me that this is more than a job.

What has been your most memorable moment with the company?

Germany is known for its formal culture in business. Our language knows two different words for “you”. When power distance is high, ‘Sie’ is used, while ‘Du’ is used among friends.

After being with the company for only a few weeks, I was invited to use ‘Du’ towards the owner family. That proved to me that this is more than a job, we are the ‘Atmos family’.

As the business leader, what is your involvement with HR at Atmos?

When I started with Atmos four years ago as a general manager focusing on production, HR was my responsibility from day one.

We are a small team in Malaysia and everybody has to fulfil their role to ensure this subsidiary remains one of the most successful in the Group.

Companies are as good as the people who work for them. It is therefore important for us to hire good employees and even more importantly, retain them for a long time through work satisfaction and a pleasantly challenging environment.

How can the function contribute better to the business strategy?

Our team will only function through empowerment. I have always tried to create an environment that ensures task ownership and the feeling that every single person’s contribution makes the difference.

The annual result is the financial figure summing these contributions up.

What is your personal leadership style?

Atmos is active in all regions of the world, with the HQ in a small village in the beautiful Black Forest.

There is so much communication between people across different cultures necessary to keep the business running that it is a must to apply different leadership styles at the same time.

Most of the time I ensure a participative style to lead employees to task ownership and identification with the goals.

Nevertheless, every ship needs a captain especially during stormy weather.

How do you keep your team motivated and in line with the vision?

My team knows that we are lucky to be in a stable industry even during crises. That provides them with security for their family planning.

The question is, do you want to be in a field where you might earn extraordinary bonuses in one year and need a new job in another?

We do believe what we do make a difference. Our products are of the highest quality and safety standards.

Isn’t it best to know that we are helping people recovering from illnesses and getting back to their lives?

The question is, do you want to be in a field where you might earn extraordinary bonuses in one year and need a new job in another?

How do you like to spend your weekends?

After a year in Bangkok, I finished my degree and moved to Malaysia. I planned to stay for two years and then go back to Europe to use what I have learned here.

It was six years ago that I made this plan and I am still here with no end in sight.

Southeast Asia has a lot to offer with beautiful beaches, exciting cultures and a vibrant city life. I was lucky to come here by myself and find many wonderful local friends to enjoy traveling, sports and good food.

What is the one management myth that you’d like to prove wrong?

When I introduce myself as MD, I am asked for my age a lot of times. Is there something wrong with being 32?

There are managers out there innovative enough to run a company at a young age and it is always a pleasure to prove that.

Image: Provided



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