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Chairman, President & CEO of Harley-Davidson, Inc.
What does it mean to be a leadership personality? At EBS, the answer is clear: it means making a difference in the world. Jochen Zeitz is a perfect example of this. Sustainability has been an integral part of his career from the very start. Whether at PUMA, Kering or, today, at Harley-Davidson. Discover in this interview more about his 4C philosophy, his philanthropic projects in Africa and his roots at EBS.
What path did you take after graduating from EBS? What were formative stations and moments along the way?
After leaving EBS, I went straight into business in New York and haven’t looked back since. Some particularly formative moments have been my time as CEO of PUMA: developing the EP&L while at PUMA, developing Kering’s Global Sustainability Strategy, launching The B Team with Sir Richard Branson, my philanthropic endeavours in Africa and beyond, and now the challenge of Harley-Davidson’s Rewire and Hardwire strategies.
What does “leadership” mean to you personally, and how do you implement it in your current role?
Leadership means being daring, even when you don’t have all the answers. Transforming and pushing into new territories like the captain of a ship that had its course set to explore uncharted territories with confidence.
EBS promises “We empower leaders to make a difference in the world”. How do you personally make a difference in the world?
I embedded sustainability in all my business ventures, especially at PUMA and Kering. I then left PUMA and Kering in 2013 to fully focus on my environmental, sustainability and other philanthropic projects, including developing the 4C Philosophy (achieving sustainability through a holistic balance of Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce) and using this principle to create and support meaningful projects through the ZEITZ foundation in Kenya: developing The Long Run, which now safeguards over 23 million acres of land globally; co-launching the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) in Cape Town; protecting 50,000 acres of wildlife conservancy and biodiversity in Kenya; and now collaborating with other conservation areas to create the largest uninterrupted rhino sanctuary of its kind in the world.
What did you learn or take away at EBS that particularly helped you in your professional life later on?
EBS gave me the foundational knowledge and confidence to lead, after having gained practical experience early on with my internships that took me to many different countries. I also learned a lot about marketing and finance (the gas and the brake pedal) and how to coordinate the varying functions of an organisation, from strategy to culture – helping me to realise that there can be no blind spot as a leader. Each ingredient is essential to a successful team and business.
Founded in 1971, EBS Universität is the oldest private business university in Germany. It is renowned for its excellent education in the fields of business and law. Besides bachelor's degree programmes, it offers numerous master's degree programmes. EBS not only imparts the best knowledge to its students using the latest methods, but also particularly focuses on nurturing the development of strong personalities – always with the aim of educating the leaders of tomorrow.