“Go make coffee” was yesterday
Automotive-sector | People at thyssenkrupp | Uta Anders' career at thyssenkrupp began 21 years ago. Today, she is CFO & management board member thyssenkrupp System Engineering. And she told us, how she got there.
The lock screen on her smartphone shows an image of Queenstown and her next flight to the land of the kiwi is already booked for this winter. Uta Anders is a self-confessed New Zealand fan. “It’s where I find rest and energy for my work,” she says. She has been with thyssenkrupp for 21 years and is today CFO at thyssenkrupp System Engineering.
From trainee to CFO – an impressive career
After graduating in business administration, she started her career in 1997 as a trainee at the Group’s headquarters in Essen. Now Uta Anders is in charge of Finance and Accounting, Controlling, IT, Contract Management, and Commercial Execution, and together with her three management board colleagues responsible for around 4,500 employees. In those 21 years she has seen and experienced a great deal. One of several milestones was Hellenic Shipyards S. A. in Athens, a subsidiary of thyssenkrupp AG. As CFO there from 2006 to 2009, she had the task of getting the company’s finances back on track. Looking back she has fond memories of her time in Greece, though it wasn’t sunshine and blue skies all the way. Far from it. Her desk was always full of work and responsibility, managing risks and opportunities. “I really enjoyed the work,” says Anders, “but it wasn’t always easy juggling big figures”. She also had to deal with outdated structures, rigid hierarchies, and strong trade unions. But for Uta Anders it was particularly important during this time to overcome language and cultural barriers and connect with people so that they could work together better.
Balance work and private life, it’s possible
Uta Anders admits that it hasn’t always been easy to balance work and family commitments. She has only come to understand in the past few years that work isn’t everything and now she consciously makes more time for her family, friends and hobbies. What has been important for Uta Anders in her career? “I’ve never asked ‘what’s in it for me?’ I’ve always focused on doing a good job and enjoying my role,” she says. “It might be old-fashioned but I’ve always done well by working hard and not pushing myself to the fore”. In her career she has experienced other things too. She smiles as she recalls being told to “go make coffee”. In those days she wore short hair and dark suits, whereas today she prefers colorful clothes. “Women can often make workplaces more easy-going with their feminine ways. I think it’s important for women not to put on an act and to remain women,” says Anders.
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