Stepping down as the President of the Danish-Thai Chamber of Commerce also meant saying goodbye to 50 hours of voluntary work every month. But Leo Alexandersen is not slowing down.
By Rikke Bjerge Johansen
When Leo Alexandersen was the President of the Danish-Thai Chamber of Commerce I had never talked much with him. I only knew him as this formal man who hosted some good gatherings. Now it was time to sit down for an interview with him about the life after being the President. And it turned out that talking to the person Leo Alexandersen was totally different from what I expected.
Instead of this formal ex-President I assumed to meet, he was fun, honest, deep and very interesting. Who would have thought that he used to do the Chinese moving meditation sport ‘Tai Chi’ every day for years and that he now gets up at six every morning to go to the gym.
“I have never been more fit in my life than now. It feels great,” the 61 year old Leo says with a satisfied smile.
And to be satisfied is something that means a lot to Leo.
“My old dad always asked me: ‘Leo, are you satisfied with your life’. It used to irritate me every time he asked. But I can see now why it is so important and I even annoy my children by asking them. I want them to look in the mirror and think ‘I am satisfied’. Life is too short not to be,” he says.
Leo has every reason to be satisfied with his life. He and his lovely Thai wife Eid have been together for 31 years and have two children who both live in London. But the satisfaction factor is something that has not only defined his personal life but also his career.
“The things that are important to me I hold on to. But if there is something I cannot accept I won’t do it. Life is too short to waste on stupid things. My wife sometimes says to me that I should give a particular project more time and it might change. But I have been in this business so long that when it doesn’t feel right, it is over. I’m very consequent and that part of me has become stronger the older I get,” he tells.
Bite your tongue
Leo was very devoted the three years he was the Chamber President and he has a very clear idea of what makes a good leader.
“It is a task that people have entrusted me with and have elected me to do. You need to be very open and inclusive. That’s the most important issue as a leader to create peace and safety and not to be too controversial. Actually, as a person I can be a bit controversial in my point of view but I can’t be it as the President and sometimes you have to bite your tongue,” he explains. Then he adds:
“Every leader should get psychology lessons to learn to understand how people think and how they react. So many leaders could learn from that. I bet I also make mistakes every day and I try to learn from them.”
Now that Leo has left the job as the President he has also said goodbye to the 40-50 hours he spent a month on the voluntary job. But strangely enough – or maybe typically is more the right word – he hasn’t slowed down so far.
“I had this vision of me going home at 5 pm every day. But it still has not happened,” he explains.
He is busy as ever with his own company Pacific Orientation Relocation Services and consultant business as Thailand’s advisor for The Industrialisation Fund for Developing Countries (IFU).
“Officially I became a pensioner last year. But in Denmark I can work until I’m 70 years old, which is also my plan here. I could stop and retire tomorrow but I don’t feel like it. I am very satisfied with my life right now,” he says and smiles.