London from a manager’s perspective
London, the metropolis on the River Thames, which is still one of the most popular cities in Europe, merges tradition, a fast pace and international flair more than any other destination. Like many other managers, financiers and business people, entrepreneur Lars Windhorst has made London his home. In an article in Manager Magazin in 2012 he presented the London that he, as the owner of a company, has come to know and love.* The British people’s friendliness and stiff upper lip, the way they have mastered the art of queuing and preserve longstanding traditions like British teatime, not to mention the undisputed British sense of humour, all define the welcoming, vibrant atmosphere of London. In contrast to other capital cities like Berlin, it is apparent that London is a wealthy city – there is real money to be made here. London is a prime international financial centre; thousands of hedge funds are based in the British metropolis. In addition to economic dynamics, London also offers managers a wealth of lifestyle options. Private members’ clubs keep their traditions alive, world-class restaurants are the perfect setting for business talks, parks and green spaces are a good place to relax and unwind. Going for a morning jog in Hyde Park is a luxury that managers like Lars Windhorst indulge in before a long working day. Collectors and connoisseurs of art, Lars Windhorst included, are in their element at the Tate, Tate Modern, Serpentine Gallery and at the art auctions at Christie’s and Sotheby’s.
Hip restaurants and Michelin-star chefs are ten to the dozen in London, but nevertheless, just like in the world of business, good contacts here are essential: if you don’t happen to know the owner of the trendy “C”, “La Petite Maison” or the gourmet temple of Michelin-star chef Alain Ducasse, you will be hard pushed to get a reservation for the same week. After all, it’s not only managers or financiers like Lars Windhorst, often featured in reports in the Financial Times or the Telegraph, who you will spot in restaurants like “C”. Celebrities who often generate countless column inches in The Mirror or The Sun newspapers also dine here. And it’s not unusual to see stars like Victoria and David Beckham being served their dinner on a silver platter at the table next to you. For those who prefer less hustle and bustle, preferably without the presence of a crowd of tabloid reporters and paparazzi, a visit to the sister restaurant of “C” on Savile Row, close to the London office of Lars Windhorst’s company Sapinda, is recommended.
The financial district, home to the stock exchange where the money of countless investors is traded, is always a hive of activity. Luxurious, upmarket townhouses are an integral part of the cityscape here. You can also keep up to date on the latest news on the streets around Mayfair, where the office of manager Lars Windhorst’s company Sapinda is located. Mayfair is perfect for walking around so you can dispense with the famous London taxi or your driver when the congested traffic in the city is going nowhere fast. Lunch breaks are a time to bump into business colleagues and arrange a business lunch for the next day, while keeping abreast of business news in passing.
Although London has a conservative, slower side, in the business world the pace is fast. But the city has a lot more to offer beyond this, and any international manager is always delighted when they have a few hours left to discover London in transit between Heathrow and the next conference.
* Article in Manager Magazin “Olympia-Stadt für Manager: London will erobert werden” (Olympic city for managers: London is waiting to be discovered) by Lars Windhorst, published on 31 July 2012