At the time of this
job interview, Angelika Schindler-Obenhaus was even now COO of Gerry Weber
Intercontinental AG, in the meantime, she has been promoted to CEO.
FashionUnited spoke with her about her programs for Gerry Weber, her
management model and the quota of women of all ages on boards in Germany.
Ms. Schindler-Obenhaus, remember to explain your career so far.
I started my career in 1982 at the German division retail outlet chain Horten AG
with an apprenticeship as a industrial assistant, immediately after which I turned a
division supervisor. I swiftly realized that I was drawn toward shopping for and
soon after 6 decades I begun doing the job in the buying division atSinnLeffers
AG, a German retailer.
There, I worked as a obtaining department supervisor for the Young Style
division, at Bamboo. Following 8 several years, I grew to become a central customer at Boecker
GmbH and bought to know private-label output in the Much East, which was an
enjoyable new component – manufacturing in China and Hong Kong and being in a position to
layout the clothes myself. Just after that, I joined vogue brand name Cecil as Head
of Vital Account.
At the time, I was the initial lady in the income section. The tone was
rough, and I had to get utilized to that. But immediately after me, additional ladies joined the
income crew, which positively motivated the ambiance. Which is exactly where I obtained
to know the devices small business from scratch. In 2004, Cecil was marketed and the
lifestyle changed wholly.
Which is when a headhunter approached me: Katag AG – a massive wholesale
style company in Bielefeld was wanting for anyone in the programs
small business. As their Acquiring Manager, I was included in the verticalization of
private labels from 2005 on. In 2010, I was appointed to the Management
Board with accountability for buying, and afterwards joined Procurement, IT,
Revenue and Advertising and marketing. Immediately after ten years, I resolved that I needed to do
anything else again. And then Gerry Weber approached me.
What attracted you to Gerry Weber?
The Gerry Weber manufacturer has 91 percent brand recognition [in Germany], which
is unbelievable. I was imagining about how to make the model a lot more interesting
once again to the infant boomer technology – gals aged fifty and up. My desire
What variations are you aiming for at Gerry Weber?
We are placing a crystal clear concentrate on the 4 core models and have a crystal clear
aim for each of them. With Gerry Weber, we want to be the leader in
Modern-day Typical Mainstream once again. We normally have been and we want to take
this placement once again. Our USP is in good shape. Prospects trust that items from
Gerry Weber just suit nicely.
That’s why, at Gerry Weber Version, we aim primarily on the competence
locations of knitwear, shirts, outerwear and pants. At Gerry Weber Collection,
we also want to undertaking into additional fashionable types once more and, among the other
items, include things like extra assertion items. Overall, we want to come to be additional
unique, transfer away from the prior coordinates plan. Generation Wow,
as I also connect with our concentrate on viewers, strategies trend today with a
distinctive established of anticipations. And we want to convey that in our visible
language and communication.
With Taifun, we want to come to be a pertinent brand in the modern day informal
mainstream once again, which will not be an straightforward endeavor, for the reason that we have
sturdy rivals there like Opus, S.Oliver Tom Tailor, Street A person in the
German marekt. But I feel we can do it.
With Samoon, in the Curvy section, we want to turn into the chief all over again,
we are not significantly away from that. The curvy female encompasses all age teams
and is incredibly self-self-confident. She is pretty significantly on the web – we want to consider
edge of that and present her a potent variety there.
In addition, we want to return to unbiased revenue for every single manufacturer and
also transfer absent from the umbrella brand name-build in terms of conversation.
What characteristics have especially capable you for your current
I consider I am great at empathizing with a goal group. You have to
realize what the consumer wants, not just what you individually imagine
seems good. And then of program: I have expertise. I expended several years
performing in the merchandise and procurement as well as manufacturer and generation
departments. It can be also vital to me to have a fantastic employee tradition. Not
a tradition of closed doorways, not sitting down in the ivory tower, but becoming close
to the personnel.
“I generally spoke up and was hardly ever snug” you had been at the time quoted. Has
that always aided you? Are unpleasant women of all ages perceived differently than
uncomfortable adult males?
I was incredibly generally the very first girl in my career and I never questioned myself
the problem of irrespective of whether I experienced to behave otherwise for the reason that I was a lady.
I generally spoke up and communicated my strategies for enhancement and
As a supervisor, I assume it’s the incredibly worst factor when employees keep
their breath. A enterprise gets ahead when the folks, who are associated in the
operational procedures each working day, open up their mouths and produce strategies
for improvement. Businesses thrive on these so-known as “inconvenient”
staff, not the followers. That is my conviction. And I think it has
assisted me individually.
Do girls have a different leadership style than guys?
I you should not know if I would say that. Possibly. There are extra patriarchs among
adult men, I know couple woman patriarchs. But even there I would not say: this is
commonly male or generally female. It varies from human being to individual. My
administration fashion is to encourage and obstacle workers.
That would not mean “cuddling” all the time but dealing with absolutely everyone with
regard. It are unable to often be sunshine – as a boss, you often have to
make unpleasant conclusions and have tough discussions. I would much fairly
use someone than hearth someone. But even a termination can be dealt with with
dignity, decency, and respect for the other man or woman.
Do you share converse and exchange ideas with other girls in identical
Sure, I have a very significant community by now. We assist each and every other. I believe
a good deal has happened there. I didn’t like the initial of these networking
functions for girls, I remaining them quickly. Now they are mainly worthwhile and
properly-organized gatherings. For case in point, McKinsey experienced an event called “Women
Make any difference in Luxury and Fashion”. That was a fantastic community with several remarkable
subject areas these kinds of as sustainability or digitalization, where women of all ages from different
leadership positions mentioned amongst on their own. My new circle has emerged
from this. We talk about a huge variety of subject areas: Digitalization,
sustainability, worker administration, management. Often, of program, we
also converse about the adult males.
How do you empower and guidance staff?
To day, I have not compensated attention to gender there, but to effectiveness.
The quota that has now been released will most likely modify that. It
worries us to then do even additional in the next and third stages.
Germany handed a quota regulation previous calendar year. What is your stance on that?
In regards to the quota, much like German public impression and discourse,
I have gone through a transformation. In the earlier, I was strictly from the
quota. I considered that it would not do girls justice if they obtained a task
mainly because they are the “token woman” and then they would have to struggle that
prejudice on top of the already existing sexism.
But now, I imagine it is not going to get the job done devoid of a quota. Due to the fact very little has
improved on a voluntary foundation. If a girl produced it to a DAX board at all, it
was typically in the so-known as “women’s departments.”
I also locate it problematic that the quota only will take outcome from the
fourth board member onwards. That would not use to my present-day place,
for illustration, as the Gerry Weber Management Board only consists of 3
people today. But I think that the initial action has been taken and that supporting
more women of all ages will aid firms, due to the fact they carry a distinct point of view.
We all hope that at some place it will be fairly usual to have women in the
What wants to modify structurally for this to transpire?
The social and operational framework should transform. At Gerry Weber, for
case in point, we have a daycare centre. That is an example of these framework
problems that have to have to be designed to permit mother and father to return to do the job
after maternity or parental go away.
The frame of mind towards females in Germany has to alter in typical. For
illustration, I frequently have to justify not obtaining small children people label me
“career woman”. On the other hand, moms who want to return to get the job done
speedily after getting young children have are labeled “bad mother”.
[At this point, Kristina Schütze, Press Officer & Head of Corporate
Communications Gerry Weber, who is also on the video call, joins the
Kristina Schütze: Incidentally, as a mom, I see it that way as well. When
I started off the work at Gerry Weber in September 2019, I was asked on Linkedin
by just about full strangers, how I was likely to manage this task with two
younger little ones. My partner had also a short while ago began a new task – no a person
asked him that concern.
Angelika Schindler-Obenhaus: Yes, that is exactly what I signify. There’s a
lot that needs to come about socially.
What recommendations would you give to existing graduates (or your
I would suggest them to find out languages, achieve expertise abroad,
encounter new perspectives, and be genuine. They need to acquire time to
locate out what they are passionate about and then attempt to set the course for
their qualified life accordingly. And seize alternatives! I certainly
did not approach to come to be a board member when I was in university or even early in
my career. It turned out that way due to the fact I generally took likelihood, found
mentors who thought in me, and wasn’t concerned of failure.
This write-up was at first released in January 2021 on fashionunited.de.
Translation and modifying: Barbara Russ
Illustrations or photos: 1. Angelika Schindler-Obenhaus 2 and 3: marketing campaign images