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From Asia to Africa

From the early age of 15, Lucas Haass has traveled a lot and to this day foreign countries and cultures inspire him. After two assignments for FUCHS in Singapore and Indonesia, he assumed the position as Finance Executive at FUCHS LUBRICANTS (SOUTH AFRICA) in November  2016.

Actually, the rowing scholarship that took Lucas Haass to Great Britain as a teenager was planned to take only three months. “My mother, who was born in the U.S.A, wanted me to learn English,” he remembers. But the young man liked England enough to stay and he studied Business Administration in Lon­ don and then in San Sebastian to learn Spanish.

Subsequent internships at several renowned companies brought him into the wide world and eventually to FUCHS LUBRICANTS (CHINA) in Shanghai. “I really felt at ease there and when my supervisor at the time, Dr. Eric Nerlinger, moved on to Singapore, I gladly accepted his offer to come along to be hired by the subsidiary as Regional Controller responsible for South­East Asia.”

The planned two years turned out to be  three and a half years and towards the end of his assignment, he made the decision to change jobs within the FUCHS Group and move on to Indonesia to assume the position as Chief Operating Officer. “For us Europeans, Indo­nesia is rather ‘Asia light’,” says Haass. “In addi­tion to shifting his professional focus more to the operative business, Indonesia offered great opportunities to get a closer picture of Asia. Furthermore, the Islamic­ oriented culture in this country is completely different from the culture in Singapore which is dominated by Chinese traditions.”
When Lucas Haass moved to Johannesburg in South Africa last November, one of the driving factors was his partner who was aiming for her Master’s degree for which Indonesia could not provide suitable opportunities. “I definitely wanted to stay with FUCHS,” Haass reports, “and started looking for a new position within the Group.” It was a stroke of good luck that FUCHS LUBRICANTS (SOUTH AFRICA) was looking for a new Finance Executive. “My girlfriend and I went on a look­and­see­trip to Johannesburg and instantly fell in love with the city,“ the 27­ year old looks back.

“FUCHS gave me great support with visa matters and relocation planning. The warm welcome of my new colleagues facilitated getting settled,“ says Mr. Haass happily. By joining the “Wikings”, the oldest rowing club in Johannesburg, which just recently com­ peted at the South African championship in April 2017, he could reactivate his old hobby. Apart from rowing in the natural reserve Roodeplaat, he enjoys the pulsating life in Maboneng, the district  of Johannesburg which has developed into one of the hippest locations in the South African metropolis since the Football   World Cup in 2010. On weekends, the ubiquitous “Braai” (Afrikaans for barbecue) is on the agenda and many trips through South Africa and the neighboring countries are envisaged. After almost six years in Southeast Asia and a smooth re­familiarization with Euro­ pean culture in the former British colony, Lucas Haass looks for­ ward to a year with significant climatic seasons. “It’s feels great to be able to wear a pullover again.“

Is it a problem having to relocate to a new country and new envi­ ronment every couple of years? Lucas Haass answers this question with a clear no, although he plans to settle in one country in the medium term. “The expat community is not all that large. In some countries, you meet friends and colleagues that you already knew from before and you will build a global network. Apart from networking with colleagues, sport facilitates integration. Both In Singa­pore and Indonesia, I played for German soccer teams in a special expat league. That way, I was able to quickly gain a foothold.”

Learning to deal with different cultures is a valuable process: “Par­ticularly in Indonesia, I acquired a certain peace of mind. Quite frequently, the best way to solve a problem is to take your time and proceed slowly. Shooting from the hip hardly ever yielded the desired results. And: it is extremely important to communicate crit­ icism in a pleasant and gentle way. The German method of com­ing straight out with it is rather  counter­productive."

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