Business of Design: Michael Cesarz

The thyssenkrupp Elevator MULTI CEO reveals the keys to success.

Prof. Michael Cesarz, thyssenkrupp Elevator MULTI CEO

Prof. Michael Cesarz, Architect, Dipl.-Ing. thyssenkrupp Elevator MULTI CEO is one of the many driving forces behind thyssenkrupp Elevator’s innovative practices in Dubai and the region.

thyssenkrupp Elevator has been actively present in the Middle East for 25 years and partners with some of the most prestigious clients. As preferred partner for ambitious projects, thyssenkrupp Elevator ensures mobility for passengers at Dubai, Doha, Cairo, Riyadh, and Madinah airports as well as for the metro systems of Cairo, Riyadh, and Doha.

United Tower – Bahrain, courtesy of Wyndham Hotels and Resorts

Most recently, the builders of the spectacular United Tower in Bahrain have completed the installation of 16 elevators and two escalators in the country’s sixth tallest building. The elevators and escalators for the United Tower are the biggest ever order for thyssenkrupp Elevator in Bahrain.  With its unique twisted shape, it’s conceived as a building with multiple uses – a vertical spiral city where people live, work, and relax. The particular characteristic of the United Tower is a 360-degree unobstructed view of Manama.

Such a futuristic approach requires adequate mobility solutions that match the building’s characteristic appeal. thyssenkrupp Elevator delivered elevators and escalators for an unparalleled transportation experience with quality and innovation playing a crucial role in every detail. The comfortable and efficient elevators are capable of a maximum speed up to 3.5 m/s.

Besides an inspiring and modern 26,000 sqm commercial office space, the hotel giant Wyndham Hotel Group opens Wyndham Grand Manama in Bahrain Bay’s iconic tower, offering 263 guest rooms and facilities with large floor-to-ceiling windows that occupy a 900 sqm ball room on the buildings’ top floor with an impressive sea view. The hotel occupies 19 floors of the United Tower.

Professor Cesarz took a moment to answer our questions about his personal leadership philosophy and how he forged the path to success for thyssenkrupp Elevator.

MULTI, re-imagining building design

What is your leadership/business philosophy?

It’s a simple one: Trust and collaborate! I’m a huge fan of teamwork and sharing information.Teamwork depends on knowing each other well and trusting each other. If you don’t, you’ll have a hard time delivering successful projects.

Throughout the course of your career what two people have been the most influential people?

Each person you like influences you one way or another – which is a good thing. I was fortunate enough to have always been surrounded by older mentors who gave me great freedom but also guidance when needed. Apart from business mentors, the US architect Richard Meier also comes to my mind as a fantastic and inspiring person.

What is the best part of your job?

Going to a construction site in the morning and attending a supervisory board meeting in the afternoon. I like combining the different levels of my job and all the cool people that come with it.

What is the most difficult part of your job?

Not to lose sight of your target or objective. In construction, that’s sometimes a challenge as no project is ever completed in under three years.

What is the biggest misconception about working with designers ?

The biggest misconception is that architects can neither handle budgets nor deadlines.

What are the top three challenges your industry is currently facing?

These are the challenges: a growing urban population and how we deal with limited space; Industry 4.0 and how it will change cities; innovation and how to implement permanent change management. Change and innovation in particular are challenges that are not very popular with the real estate industry. In fact, the real estate business is one of the most conservative ones you could possibly find yourself in. On the upside, and I like to look at the upside, it offers plenty of opportunities for those who like change and innovation.

How do manage to strike a productive balance between the business and aesthetic needs of your brand?

No compromise! Anything can be negotiated, but don’t sacrifice the heart and mission of your product.

MULTI in operation

How do you define innovation?

Innovation is the imagination of how things could be the day after tomorrow. It comes with the risk that some of what you imagine won’t come true and with the bigger risk that some of it will.

What is your favourite business resource?

I’ve got all major news apps on my mobile devices, as information is key. Another business resource is travel: It’s more broadening than anything else.

Where do you seek advice?

From my team.

Where do you go for creative inspiration and to rejuvenate?

To Dubai! It’s a place I find very laid-back, because people from all backgrounds and walks of life meet here and they don’t care where you’re coming from. They’re curious, open-minded and non-judgmental. My next trip to Dubai is already lined up!

What advice do you have for young business leaders?

Be determined! Follow your dreams, do what you want to do – and never waste time complaining. If you’re unhappy, then change something.

Why do you think Dubai is a top destination for the business of design?

Dubai is a unique hotspot for great projects and great minds, because Dubai allows for a great degree of freedom and is open to try new things. Other places place more emphasis on risk management.

What does the future of your industry and the future of your brand hold?

I think we’ll use completely new transport systems to get around cities in the future. They will transform architecture, buildings and city planning. And I’m confident that MULTI, our ropeless elevator system, will be an integral part of this transformation. Making cities the best ever places to live is definitely our ambition.

Company profile:

thyssenkrupp Elevator brings together the Group’s global activities in passenger transportation systems. With sales of €7.6 billion in fiscal 2017/2018 and customers in 150 countries, thyssenkrupp Elevator built its position as one of the world’s leading elevator companies from scratch in a mere 40 years’ time applying thyssenkrupp unique engineering capabilities. With more than 50,000 highly skilled employees, the company offers smart and innovative products and services designed to meet customers’ individual requirements. The portfolio includes passenger and freight elevators, escalators and moving walks, passenger boarding bridges, stair and platform lifts as well as tailored service solutions for all products. Over 1,000 locations around the world provide an extensive sales and service network to guarantee closeness to customers.

Established in the year: 1865

Design awards:
o The Internationaler Designpreis Baden-Württemberg, “Focus Silver” award
o The German Design Award 2018 in the category “Buildings and Elements”. The design award, presented by the German Design Council, is one of the internationally leading awards for groundbreaking design concepts.

Other awards:
o Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH): 2018 Innovation Award
o TIME Magazine “25 Best Inventions of 2017”
o Der Deutsche Innovationspreis 2018
o “Industrial Manufacturing Excellence – Innovative Product Award 2018” awarded by the „Industrial Manufacturing Excellence • Innovation Forum 2018” in China
o The German Chamber of Commerce for Spain’s Excellence Award 2018
o Innovative Star of Energy Efficiency Award 2018 in the Built Environment category
o Vector Award 2018 Bronze
o 2017 Edison Awards: the Gold award in the category Transportation and Logistic

Designer collaborations:
o The cabin’s design concept had been developed by the Junior Professorship in Industrial Design Engineering at Technische Universität Dresden. The design agency neongrau created the lighting concept and the interface, while the cabin was built by Composyst GmbH.

Unique mission:
thyssenkrupp Elevator advocates the revolutionary transformation of the elevator industry, to change the way our future cities look like and to make them the best places to live.

More about Prof. Michael Cesarz, Architect,Dipl.-Ing.

Michael Cesarz is an architect with extensive experience in cutting-edge building development, including design, project management and operations across several Real Estate asset classes. Since February 2018, he has been thyssenkrupp Elevator MULTI CEO. He was previously at OVG Real Estate B.V., Holland, working on the next version of “The Edge”, acknowledged in the industry as the smartest and most sustainable building in the world. Prior to this he was CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Shopping Mall branch in Dubai, UAE, with over 20 highly successful and innovative properties across the Middle East, including the Mall of the Emirates. Cesarz also served as CEO of the Real Estate branch of METRO GROUP, the world’s 3rd biggest internationally operating retailer, based in Düsseldorf, Germany.

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