Work-life balance? No need to distinguish the two, since Nils Haupt, Senior Director Corporate Communications of the Hapag-Lloyd Group, combines both worlds seamlessly, whether at his Hapag-Lloyd office, on business trips near and far, at cultural events, or in private meetings with friends and acquaintances. Practically everywhere! However, is this permanent blending of activities without taking a major break in between really healthy? Apparently yes, because networking, connecting people with each other, is the driving force keeping him going to the benefit of many, above all his employer. Last Sunday, he turned 60.
It was one hell of a party! Nils had invited, and more than 150 guests showed up to celebrate his 60th birthday on board the historic ship, MS Bleichen, a former cargo vessel that is now part of Hamburg's Maritime Museum. They came from all over the world – from A as in Argentina through to U as in USA. Dozens of nationalities were represented at his party. A global gathering, so to say.
Why is Nils so popular? What makes him stand out from the mass of press speakers? After all, other Communication Officers also perform well and are widely acknowledged - that’s a fact. Yet, there are slight differences when it comes to Mr. Haupt, as Jean-Peter Jansen, the former CEO of Lufthansa Cargo, illustrates. It was he who hired Nils, 20 years ago, to head the cargo carrier’s press division.
“Nils is a unique blend of 100% loyalty, inspirational creativity, empathy for people, and an understanding of their causes.
He combines these attributes with a realistic view of what can be achieved, and the right sense of humor without offending anybody. He always looks for something new, especially people, people, people: those who are inspiring and have something to tell.
It was an honor to have worked with him very closely, and it is a privilege to have been his friend ever since.”
He opens doors
In fact, networking, connecting people with each other, is the driving force that keeps him going, as Fokko Doyen, the former head of Lufthansa Cargo’s MD-11 freighter fleet, confirms:
“Right from his start at Lufthansa Cargo, Nils very straightforwardly established important and lasting contacts with the press. His great talent is his ability to adapt to new topics at lightning speed and start networking and solution-finding initiatives right on the spot. I more than once benefitted from his initiatives, both in my former role as Head of the MD-11 freighter fleet and as founder of the charity organization, Cargo Human Care, because knowing the guys from the media was helpful when new projects had to be announced. Thanks to him, I got to understand what an enormous influence media can have.
During my active time as a pilot, I saw a lot of the world, but I never met anyone with such a broad network, which he permanently cultivates and uses to the benefit of all parties involved,” Fokko testifies.
His field is the world
Taking the characteristics illustrated above as a yardstick, Nils Haupt embodies the box carrier’s motto: “Our field is the world.” It was propagated more than 100 years ago by Albert Ballin, the company’s famous General Director. The street in downtown Hamburg where Hapag-Lloyd has its headquarters, was named after him: Ballindamm.
According to Jens Nitschke, Director of the Ballinstadt Emigrant Museum, it was used by millions of people who left Europe in hope for a better life overseas. “Ballin was a networker who brought people together, a cooperative negotiator.” A characterization that fully applies to Nils Haupt, too.
Eric Malitzke, former Managing Director of Leipzig/Halle Airport, and a close friend of Nils, has a similar view: “He is a man of a thousand colors, interests, and talents. I always valued and still value him as an outstanding professional. But, more importantly, as restless as he is on one hand, he’s equally a loyal friend, interested listener and - above all - always great company.”
In addition to his professional duties, Mr. Haupt is heavily involved in cultural activities, not only as consumer but also as an event organizer. This, too, was a major topic of conversation among his guests while celebrating his birthday on board the MS Bleichen, as evidenced by this statement:
Initiator of cultural activities
“From the beginning of his time in Hamburg, I have found Nils Haupt to be one of the most forward driving and creative personalities I have ever met. From the very first moment, he repositioned Hapag-Lloyd's public relations in a very targeted way, catapulting it into the 21st century. As a passionate communicator, Nils Haupt has the gift of bringing together the most diverse people, including those previously completely unknown to him personally. He uses his skills extensively: as expected, not only professionally, but also privately at his many salon events (the famous ‘Textor Salon’ he privately organized), and socially in his activities for the renown Hapag-Lloyd Foundation,” says Daniel Stricker, Office Manager of Peter Tschentscher, First Mayor of Hamburg.
That Nils changed the elements from air to water, is probably regretted by just one person: His good and long-time friend, Nol van Fenema. As founder and former editor of the Singapore-based air cargo magazine, Payload Asia, and someone who also contributed many articles to CargoForwarder Global, the widely respected Dutchman was a doyen among cargo journalists worldwide until his retirement. Now he lives in Spain, where he enjoys his time at the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. From there, he sends Nils this birthday message:
“I remember the guy who, after heading Lufthansa Cargo’s press relations for donkey's years, surprised every air cargo hack with his incomprehensible move to ‘Ocean’.
No more MD11Fs or B747Fs, but ships, or boats, or whatever they call these bulky things that also sail the infinitive horizon of the Mediterranean in front of my place in Spain.
After roughly 35 years in air cargo publishing and countless visits to busy, noisy, and seemingly chaotic cargo operations at airports around the world - often organized by Nils and his Lufthansa Cargo team - the smell of kerosine, rattling of ULD dollies, and noisy aircraft engines have been replaced by the daily passage of these ‘bulky things’.
They are my sole link to Ocean, but they often remind me of Nils Haupt, obviously without the adjective ‘bulky’.
Again... Happy Birthday, my friend.”
The CargoForwarder Global team shares Nol’s wishes: Congratulations on your 60th birthday, dear Nils! And all the best, privately and jobwise.
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