Writer Utz Claassen has a reputation for being a tough corporate reformer, but also an eloquent speaker and lateral thinker who defies categorization. On Talking Germany the former executive discusses his new book about uncomfortable truths in the business world, and explains why it’s good to swim against the current. We also talk to him about his political ambitions and the soccer industry.
Utz Claassen was born in 1963 in Hanover. After skipping two grades and getting top marks in high school, he went on to university, studied at Oxford, and later obtained a doctorate in political science from Hanover. Afterwards he catapulted to the elite realms of the corporate world to become one of Germany’s youngest top executives. He worked mainly in the automotive and energy industries and soon a name for himself as a tough operator who could turn around an ailing company. Even threats and an attempt on his life left him undeterred. But Claassen has also been the subject of some controversy, including a lawsuit against the Solar Millennium company, in which he demanded the full compensation fee after resigning from his post as CEO after only a few weeks. Meanwhile he’s founded his own start-up and become an investor in the Spanish soccer club RCD Mallorca. Utz Claassen is married and has one daughter.