Leadership Positions Filled with Internal Talent
01 AUG 2023
Targeted development of highly qualified internal talent allows us to expand our strong leadership team.
In order to develop our team further and to retain top talent globally, we are focusing on advanced training and development opportunities for our people. The most recent appointments of Tina Sandmann as Head of Group Legal & Compliance and Group General Counsel and of Kerstin Weber as Head of Group Internal Auditing exemplify this. Read the following interviews to learn more about these two newly appointed leaders at the helm of two of our enabling functions.
As a child, what did you dream of becoming later on in life?
I didn't really have a “dream job” in mind. Growing up as the fourth of five children, I often played a mediating role and sought to champion harmony and balance in the family. In doing so, I realized that I have a strong sense of justice. Later, while doing an internship with a lawyer, I was very impressed by his work. That made me want to become a lawyer and it’s why I decided to study law.
Was there a key event that had a strong influence on your professional career?
I have worked in many different roles and have had very many different supervisors to learn from. One boss had a particular influence on me. Working with him, I experienced how motivating it is when high performance standards go hand-in-hand with personal responsibility, freedom and trust. I had never been so motivated to achieve excellent results. This had a huge impact on my own leadership style. Afterwards, when I led my own teams again, I had to muster up a bit of courage in order to place full trust in others. That's because I was leading a team in an area that I wasn’t very familiar with initially. Yet not only the results, but also the performance of my teams and their feedback have confirmed to me that a leadership style characterized by trust can lead to excellent achievements.
What does good leadership mean to you?
Psychological safety is the first keyword that comes to mind: Employees must feel safe in their environment. This includes a solid failure culture, clear, transparent communication, and open feedback. My experience is that employees are much more open-minded and will have the courage to try new things if they see that when mistakes are made, the focus isn’t on who’s to blame, but rather on the process and ways to improve it. In my view, we urgently need this kind of mindset if we are to remain successful in a constantly changing world.
What are you looking forward to most in your new role?
I'm looking forward to meeting lots of superb colleagues, to the new challenge and to being able to learn something new again – both professionally and personally. Since I once worked in Legal & Compliance, I still know many of the colleagues there. I am aware of the highly complex nature of the work they do and that they are a great team overall.
Do you have a personal motto that you follow in life?
I don't have a motto, but I do have a few principles that have always been and still are important to me throughout the various stages of my professional career: Work or career should not be an end in itself. I want to have a job that I enjoy doing.
And: I want to learn from my work and develop myself further. After all, that gives me new perspectives and enables me to grow both personally and professionally.
What was your dream job when you were a child?
I wanted to be a pilot. I was fascinated by the idea of soaring through the sky, experiencing the freedom of flight and seeing the world from a different perspective. While my career ultimately led me to Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, I still find time to fly privately, both gliders and single-engine piston planes. It allows me to step back from the world, clear my mind, and take a broader view when approaching complex situations in my professional life. Flying high keeps me grounded.
Can you share a pivotal moment that influenced your career path?
Yes, it was when I had the opportunity to work for Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany as an external consultant. During this time, I worked closely with colleagues from across the organization. I was truly inspired by the people and the diverse range of businesses they were involved in. Witnessing the passion, dedication and innovative mindset of the employees fueled my own desire to be a part of this environment. This experience motivated me to move into an internal role where I could fully immerse myself in the company culture and actively contribute to its growth and development. That was more than 11 years ago, and I am still fascinated by this company …
What does good leadership mean to you?
To me, good leadership means inspiring and empowering the team to excel in their roles, fostering a culture of trust, collaboration and continuous improvement. It involves setting a clear vision and goals and communicating them effectively to the team. Good leaders provide guidance and support while encouraging autonomy and innovation. They lead by example, demonstrating integrity, ethical behavior, and a commitment to professional excellence. In addition, good leadership involves recognizing and leveraging the strengths of team members, promoting professional growth and continuous learning, and ensuring that each individual feels valued and motivated to contribute their best.
What are you most excited about in your new role?
As Head of Group Internal Auditing, I am most excited about the opportunity to strategically contribute to the success of the organization. I am looking forward to leading a team of talented auditors and working collaboratively with senior management and stakeholders. I look forward to using my experience and expertise to enhance internal controls, identify areas for improvement, and mitigate risk. This role allows me to have a direct impact on the organization's governance, risk management, and compliance to ensuring the integrity and sustainability of the business.
Do you have a personal motto that guides you in life?
Yes, I do: 'Embrace new horizons'. As a private pilot, I've learned the importance of constantly seeking new horizons, exploring uncharted territory, and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. This motto resonates with my professional journey. I believe in taking on new challenges, constantly learning, and developing innovative approaches to improve organizational effectiveness. Just as a pilot strives to reach greater heights, I am committed to driving continuous improvement within the organization. This personal motto reflects my passion for both flying and professional growth, and it guides me to approach every opportunity with enthusiasm, dedication, and a commitment to excellence.