Magazine article Management Today

MT Travel: Globetrotter

Magazine article Management Today

MT Travel: Globetrotter

Article excerpt

Coutts International chief executive Alexander Classen on chasing millionaires in Asia - and being obliged to eat a live snake's bladder in Taipei.

- Where do you travel?

Every week I fly between London, where my family is based, and headquarters in Zurich. I'm on the 6am flight every Monday and get the last flight to London on Thursday.

I go to Asia every six weeks, the Middle East every few months and India about four times a year.

- What do you do when you get there?

I manage 1,400 people worldwide. We're focusing on Asia, looking for investment opportunities. An international client of Coutts needs at least pounds 1m in liquid assets.

- How do you manage cultural differences?

In the east, how you receive a business card is crucial. You look at the card, acknowledge it and give eye contact. You certainly don't put it straight in your pocket. I saw a European colleague once scribbling on the back of one because he'd forgotten his notepad. I had to kick him under the table.

- Do you travel alone?

Mostly. I spend the time catching up on work or sleep. Recently, I watched an intense documentary on motor-racing champion Ayrton Senna and I'm a chapter into the Steve Jobs biography. …

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