Michael Eckert’s career is far from commonplace. His extensive across-the-board and beyond-border experience has proven an invaluable asset to his current field. I’m looking forward to meeting one of Germany’s most highly respected executive search consultants, Managing Partner of Höchsmann & Company, and to hear how he navigated the twists and turns of his career. The insights, perspectives and expertise he collected throughout the years are now manifest in his unique approach to executive search.
Michael has been with Höchsmann & Company for nearly two decades. The executive search firm is widely acclaimed for its creativity, insight and genuine attention to its clients’ needs and interests. It is no stretch to say that Michael embodies all these qualities himself.
“How did you end up in executive search after starting out in medical school?”
He smiles, and says, “At first glance, mine may not seem like a logical career, but if you take a step back and consider the overlaps, every single move I made in my career falls into place.” He explains. Studying medicine had always been Michael’s plan, it was a part of his family’s DNA. While at medical school, he met someone who worked in the pharmaceutical industry. His interest was piqued. Subsequently, he worked as a product manager parallel to his studies. His background was decidedly different from his colleagues: his medical expertise proved a clear advantage, particularly complimented by his natural commercial savvy. Having joined the pharmaceutical industry after completion of his medical studies, he achieved enormous international successes.
Pharma took him overseas, and he spent a number of years in South Africa, after which he returned to Germany and joined Lufthansa. The airline was looking for someone from outside the industry, someone who would be able to add a commercial perspective to the then state-owned company. The job took him all over the world, among which a number of years living in Stockholm. He was more or less given free reign, and his unyielding thirst for in-depth understanding of why the company was organized as it was, why processes were structured as they were proved immensely rewarding. Both for Michael personally and for the company on the whole.
“As a doctor, you always have to determine a proper diagnosis before you can prescribe an appropriate treatment. That means you have to ask questions. And more questions. You can’t come up with a solution if you don’t understand the problem. Always dare to question the status quo.” It is exactly this attitude, his ability to pair his broad perspective with a keen attention to detail that has established him as one of the best in the executive search field.
Making the switch to executive search in 1998, Michael’s executive background is indispensable. Both candidates and clients consider him an equal – he knows the lay of the corporate land, understands the principles of business and is capable of identifying the needs and key factors necessary to achieving a successful match geared toward the future.
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