29. September 2017

10 Questions for Oliver Kaltner - New Chairman of the Advisory Board of IEG – Investment Banking Group

We are proud to announce that on 1 October 2017 Oliver Kaltner (48) was appointed Chairman of the Advisory Board of IEG – Investment Banking Group. Read the interview for a short introduction of this experienced manager and dealmaker.

1. Oliver Kaltner, you’ve worked for Microsoft, Sony, Sky, EA, Nike and Leica. Brands are your world. How important are brands for digitalisation?

BRANDS ARE HUGELY IMPORTANT in a digitalised world because they act as benchmarks and value propositions. But we are seeing a huge decline in brand loyalty. That means brands now have to reflect, re-adjust and reload on a daily basis in order to maintain their relevance globally.

2. What’s your connection with IEG?

I HAVE BEEN ASSOCIATED WITH IEG and its management team for many years. Professionally and personally. I like their culture of unstinting market orientation and commitment to their partners’ needs. IEG’s global network is remarkable. The Digital Friends Dinners have developed into a brand in their own right. They form a platform that brings together movers and shakers from all sectors around the table for an international exchange of ideas.

3. You have a reputation as a deal maker. What makes a deal a really good deal?

I LOVE DEALS. I love it when holistic ideas materialise into agreements. I’d say a deal is a really good deal if it forms the basis for a long-term partnership. Anything else is just what I call a spot deal.

4. Looking back, what would you say is this year’s most brilliant deal so far?

MODESTY ASIDE, I have to say the technological collaboration between Leica Camera AG and Huawei. Why? Because it’s a wonderful example of what is thought of as the “old” world encountering and intersecting with the “new” world: optical engineering is of fundamental importance in all mobile devices – today and in future. And by mobile devices I also mean cars – think of autonomous vehicles. I am confident that Huawei will at some point be world number 2 in the smartphones segment. When that happens we can say it’s a really good deal.

5. You are considered to be an expert on Asia. What can we learn from China?

ENGINEERING! China has long since outgrown its manufacturing copy and paste culture. Its awareness of its own culture, more than 5,000 years old, the pioneering education of countless numbers of young talents, its energetic commitment to develop into a leader of the digital world – all this will soon fundamentally alter the US and European image of China. And China is moving really fast, at a pace that is unprecedented, in fact.

“I am very pleased to take over the chairmanship of the advisory board of IEG. Digitization requires profound changes in business models and customer networks in all industries, and in this context investment banking and private equity can look forward to exciting new potentials in cooperation with industry, on both the domestic and international level, with large corporations and with SMEs.”

Oliver Kaltner

6. And what is China learning from us?

MARKETING AND SALES! Putting customers at the centre of what you do is great. But in the digital world the customers need to be at the centre of our thinking. Unless I do that, I can’t create something that will be relevant over the long term.

7. How do you bridge the well-known cultural differences?

OF THE THREE GREAT CULTURES in Asia, I would say based on my personal experience that the Chinese are the most open and ready to learn. Bridge building starts with identifying a shared language, and English is now well-established. Next, you have to identify shared cultural values out of what appear to be cultural differences. Our shared enthusiasm for engineering, for digital and transparent communication, for cooperation without compromise mean there are many opportunities for joint growth between Europe and China.

8. Is there a business idea that we have yet to discover in Europe?

FULLY DIGITALISIED CITIES with an ecological energy sector, efficiency-led traffic systems that respond to demand at the micro-level, and solutions that are not blocked by old geographical borders or new barriers but allow Europe to be what it ultimately should be: a unified and therefore powerful market.

9. Tell us what your favourite app is!

AMAZON PRIME. I go on lots of international trips, and it means I can always access my music, great films and live transmissions of Bundesliga football matches. It all inspires me so much that I also indulge in my passion for shopping. So I can give my nearest and dearest, and myself, some lovely moments, over and over – 24/7/365.

10. How long does it take you to reply to an email?

I’M KNOWN FOR responding quickly and being always on. I’ve just realised that could well be a weakness, not a strength.