Heinz Landau

Heinz Landau

 “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
- Confucius

Heinz was born in 1957 in Griesheim, Germany. He spent more than 30 years with the German – based Merck Group and moved all the way up from Trainee (Apprentice) to Country Manager. Merck is a global pharmaceutical and chemical company with sales of about Euro 7,000 million in 2008 and more than 30,000 employees worldwide.

After high school and after an apprenticeship at Merck, Heinz spent nine years in sales and marketing positions in the head office of Merck KGaA in Darmstadt, Germany. Then, he started a working career abroad. His first destination took him from 1984 until 1987 to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where he worked as a Regional Manager Pharma for the Gulf states.

In 1987, Heinz moved to Lagos, Nigeria as General Manager for Emedia Ltd. (a Merck subsidiary). In 1988, he was promoted to the position of Managing Director of Farmex Ltd. (another Merck subsidiary in Nigeria).

In 1992, Heinz took up a new assignment in Bangkok as Director Chemical Division of Merck Ltd., Thailand. In 1993, he was promoted to the position of Managing Director of Merck Ltd., Thailand. In 2001, Heinz has been appointed Chairman of Merck Ltd., Thailand.

Heinz left Merck early in 2009. From July until December 2009, Heinz served as Senior Advisor of B. Grimm Co. who is Merck’s joint venture partner in Thailand. In January 2010, Heinz took up the position of Executive Vice President Group Strategy & Corporate Development at B. Grimm Group. Since January 2011, Heinz is serving again as Senior Advisor of the B. Grimm Group.

Furthermore, in January 2009, Heinz was appointed as Member of the Board of Avantalion Consulting Group, Germany.


Career Highlight

In January 2009, Heinz received on behalf of Merck Thailand the CSR Leadership Excellence Award at the Global CSR Summit at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore. Merck Thailand won this top honour award against blue chip companies from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, India and the U.S.  The CSR Leadership Award is an award given to the company who has contributed to the promotion of all aspects of CSR, including the environment, sustainability, community partnerships and poverty alienation. Merck Thailand received the CSR Leadership Award in honour and recognition of fully integrating CSR into Merck Thailand’s business philosophy and strategy which very much reflects Heinz’s leadership philosophy.

Heinz’s Leadership Philosophy

Heinz is a firm believer that companies should not focus only on profit maximization for its shareholders, but should rather take a balanced approach addressing also the needs of the other stakeholders like employees, customers and the society.

During his 16 years at the helm of Merck Thailand as Managing Director and Chairman, he implemented with great success the 4 stakeholders – approach, demonstrating firm commitment and care towards employees, customers, shareholders and the Thai society.

Year by year, value was created for all stakeholders as demonstrated by the following results which represent some of the most important performance indicators:

  1. Employees: Very high employee satisfaction rates as measured by Employee Caring Surveys every six months
  2. Customers: High customer satisfaction rates as measured by Customer Satisfaction Surveys every six months; very high customer retention rates
  3. Society: Considerable amount of high impact CSR – activities involving employees and customers
  4. Shareholders: Outstanding sales and profit growth for more than a dozen years (profitable double digit sales growth in 13 out of 16 years!), mainly from organic growth

Merck Ltd., Thailand: Sales Development Index for the Period 1991-2008The integration of pioneering ideas of CSR into its business strategy to the benefit of Thai society and Merck’s business makes Merck Thailand stand out as a modern, forward looking 21st century company.

Integrated CSR as Part of the DNA of an Organization

As a caring leader, Heinz is a strong advocate of integrating CSR into the overall business strategy of a company. CSR has to be embedded into the corporate culture of an organization. CSR is relevant to all stakeholders. It adds an emotional signature to the company and helps to bring out the human face of the organization. CSR can be a major part of differentiation. Heinz also strongly believes that CSR helps employees to find meaning in their work which can be the foundation for sustainable competitive advantage, since the creation of meaning is positively related to performance. If people find purpose in what they are doing, they will develop a strong passion which  is the prerequisite for a long -  term strong performance.



In 2002, Heinz has established and developed a cross -  sector partnership between a business entity (Merck Thailand) and a non – profit organization (CARE Thailand / Raks Thai Foundation) to the benefit of Thai society as well as to the benefit of Merck Thailand.

Main benefits:

The aid given to poor and disadvantaged communities in rural Thailand via CARE Thailand / Raks Thai Foundation between 2002 and 2008 amounted to more than 24 mio. Baht, donated by  Merck Thailand, Merck KGaA, Germany,  Merck partners and customers.

Three programs were established between Merck Thailand and CARE Thailand / Raks Thai Foundation:

  1. Merck Young Leadership and Development Program: Develops leadership, interpersonal and organizational skills to create self – reliance and build greater confidence among students and young adults in the poorest areas of the Northeast of the country, Udonthaini and Nongkai Provinces
  2. Merck Relief and Rehabilitation Program for Tsunami Victims:
    • Merck Emergency Relief Fund, Occupational Fund, Krabi Province, Southern Thailand: Three revolving funds have been set up and 31 families have received occupational funding to buy boats, motors and fishing equipment.
    • Merck Relief and Rehabilitation Program for Tsunami Victims: All – Purpose Community Building and School at Ban Bang Bane, Ranong Province
  3. Merck Community Caring and Action Partnership: Strengthens the capacity of communities to solve problems relating to natural resource management and to develop sustainable livelihoods in Mae Chaem, Chiang Mai Province, in the North of Thailand

Apart from the above partnership, Heinz has launched Employee Volunteering Programs and, as a highly innovative measure, combined Employee & Customer Volunteering Programs. The programs were developed partly by the Management of Merck Thailand, but very often also by its employees. The programs proved to be very popular with employees and customers resulting in very high participation rates. For example, on August 31, 2008 (a Sunday), almost 1,200 volunteer employees, families, friends and customers  of Merck Thailand joined and contributed their time and efforts to complete the planting of 12,000 mangrove trees  at Samutprakarn Province, near Bangkok. The event was co -organized for reforestation purposes between Merck Thailand and  the PATT – Foundation (www.plant-a-tree-today.org).



Heinz has been a guest lecturer and given presentations on leadership and management topics at various occasions:

  • University of Applied Sciences, Pforzheim, Germany
  • WHU, Otto Beisheim School of Management, Vallendar, Germany
  • School of Management, Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand
  • College of Management, Mahidol University, Bangkok Thailand
  • Thammasat University, Bangkok, Thailand
  • University of Science and Technology, Hongkong (during Merck University)
  • INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France (during Merck University)

Heinz has been a guest speaker and panelist on various leadership, management and CSR topics for Data Consult (The Economist Magazine Corporate Network), Top Management Council Thailand, Asia Business Forum, Marcus Evans Conference,  University of Washington, Thai Environment Institute, Thailand CSR Summit 2008, Global CSR Summit 2009 in Singapore etc.


Heinz Landau, David M. Woisetschlaeger: “Corporate Social Responsibility in der internationalen
Markenfuehrung: Das CSR ‐ Konzept von Merck Thailand” (“Corporate Social Responsibility as Part of International Brand Management: The CSR – Concept of Merck Thailand”), published in the book “Management internationaler Dienstleistungsmarken: Konzepte und Methoden fuer einen nachhaltigen Internationalisierungserfolg” by Dieter Ahlert / Christof Backhaus / Markus Blut / Manuel Michaelis, 2008, Gabler Verlag

Heinz Landau, Tobias Roder: Case Study “Merck Ltd., Thailand: Challenges in Pricing Management”, published in the book “Management Competence through Application of Case Studies Techniques – Discovering and Developing talents”, by Juergen Janovsky, David Pilarek, Bijan Khashabian, 2006, Gabler Verlag

Heinz Landau, Stephan Polomski, Nathalie Schramm: “Because We Care ‐ Integrated Brand
Management in Merck Thailand”, published in the book “Praxisorientierte Markenfuehrung: Neue Strategien, innovative Instrumente und aktuelle Fallstudien”, by Brigitte Gaiser, Richard Linxweiler, Vincent Brucker, 2005, Gabler Verlag

Distinguished Awardee

In December 2009, the Thai Association for International Understanding (TAFIU) conferred on Heinz the "Outstanding Person in Promoting International Understanding" - award for his significant contributions towards the development of Thai society, especially the establishment of the partnership between CARE Thailand / Raks Thai Foundation and Merck Thailand.



Personal Interest

Heinz has a strong passion for working with and growing young talents. During his time at Merck
Thailand, he set up close cooperations with various universities in Germany, Switzerland, U.S.A. and Thailand for student projects and management internships. He played an active part in coaching and mentoring the management interns. Over the years, he enabled more than 100 students and graduates from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, U.S.A., Australia, Philippines and Thailand to do a challenging management internship in an international, professional environment at Merck Thailand where students were able to gain valuable cross – cultural experiences. This led to a big, valuable network with university professors, professionals and students. With many of them, he still holds ongoing friendly relationships.

Due to his profound interest in management topics, Heinz is enjoying reading numerous management books and business magazines. Apart from his general interest in business books, he feels that if he is able to apply one or two ideas or key learnings from a book, it was already worth the money and time spent on it.

Heinz loves watching sports, particularly football. He is a lifelong passionate supporter of Borussia Dortmund (www.bvb.de) who have the biggest football Stadium in Germany and the highest attendance. Whenever he is in Germany, Heinz drives the 250 km from his hometown Griesheim to Dortmund to watch a match. Heinz is also a strong supporter of his hometown amateur football club Viktoria Griesheim (www.scv‐griesheim.de) where he is visiting the club’s matches irrespectively of any weather conditions whenever he is in Germany. Heinz also loves listening to music (favourite band: Guns N’ Roses, favourite singer: Billy Idol) and to go to rock and pop concerts.

Heinz lives in Bangkok. He is married and has a son.

Up Close & Personal with Heinz Landau

Caring  leadership is the cornerstone for organizational success. A caring leader is able to bring out the human side of business. He is not only committed to job tasks and results, but shows also great concern for people. He leads with the heart.

A caring leader helps people to find purpose and direction and creates a sense of human belonging. Like this, people become energized and passionate about what they are doing. A caring leader creates momentum which leads to great achievements and results of the individual or the organization.

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“When you are leaving your home for the fifth time, everything will be different, because it becomes  routine.”
- Quote in 1984 of my late boss, Mr. Dieter A. Engel, Head of the Pharma Export Division, Merck KGaA, on my expatriation to Dubai, United Arab Emirates

After I had worked for a few years at the head office of Merck in Darmstadt, Germany, the company offered me to move abroad and to take up the position of  “Regional Manager Gulf States” based in Dubai, U.A.E.  Because it was my intention to work abroad, I accepted the challenging position. It was an interesting offer, since Merck never had an expatriate working as a resident in the Gulf states before. So I had the opportunity to build up the business from scratch.

Although I was looking forward to take up my new post, the nearer the day of my departure to Dubai came, the more it made me think. I wasn’t worried about the professional challenges coming along with the new job like achieving sales and profit targets, building up relationships with the distributors that Merck had in the Gulf region or the cross - cultural challenges. No, my concern derived from a completely different, namely the human and emotional perspective. I started more and more to think about my relatives, especially the elder ones that I would leave behind. According to my work contract, I had only one home flight from Dubai to Germany per year. So I started getting more and more concerned about whether I will be able to meet all my relatives again alive.

I was privileged to have had at that time a great boss, Mr. Dieter A. Engel, who did not only take the business view on my expatriation to Dubai, but looked also on the human side.

He was an experienced executive who himself had worked abroad. Therefore, he was able to put himself in my shoes and think alike, since he had faced and mastered this type of challenge in his own career. When I shared with him my worries about my family members, he stated: “When you are leaving your home for the fifth time, everything will be different, because it becomes routine.”  The conversations with him before my transfer to Dubai helped me a lot and made me feel much more comfortable. I have been remembering and recalling his above statement many times throughout my career, even after staying and working abroad already for 25 years by now.

What kind of truly caring leader Mr. Engel was,  shows also the fact that he even went to the extent to visit me in Dubai two weeks after my arrival over there. He helped me to finalize and approve the selection process of purchasing a company car and renting a flat. Since I was only 27 years of age at that time, I was quite hesitant to spend that type of money for the company car and the accommodation that typically go along with such a managerial position. Last, but not least, he introduced me to a number of key persons in Dubai whom he knew from his numerous business trips.

Mr. Engel was an outstanding boss, a true role model for caring leadership. I am grateful that, after many years, I was able to meet him again in October 2008 where we had a great conversation while recalling old memories and our experiences. Sadly, he passed away in January 2009 in the age of 73.

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“With people, slow is fast and fast is slow.”
- Stephen Covey, the famous American leadership guru, during a seminar a few years ago in Bangkok

I am a fast paced person, an action - oriented leader. Sometimes (and maybe even occasionally today J), I used to push too quickly for agreement among my leadership team members, my project team members or the whole organization. As a result of that, sometimes I didn’t have enough support and commitment from my team members.

Therefore, attending a seminar by Stephen Covey a few years ago in Bangkok, produced a real “Aha!” – moment for me. “With people, slow is fast and fast is slow.”,  Covey stated. He mentioned that the process of setting up win – win agreements with people is usually slow. But once a win – win agreement is in place, the work will go fast. As a leader, you can make a quality decision, but if there isn’t commitment to it by your team members, it won’t be effective.

At that moment, I recalled our monthly meetings with my leadership team. I realized that, from time to time, I had pushed too fast for agreement when I introduced a new idea, new projects or a new initiative. Obviously, I did not spend enough time to generate better buy – in. Sometimes, I had discussed a new project or initiative only with some of the leadership team members, but not with all of them. Therefore, when I introduced the project in our monthly meeting, some colleagues were not able to connect the dots and to figure out how the new project fitted to the other existing projects and helped reaching our company’s overall goals. For an action – oriented, impatient leader like myself, it is a tough situation, because I want things to happen fast and smoothly rather than waiting “forever” for people “to get on board”.

Nevertheless, as a result of my attendance of Stephen Covey’s seminar, I started consciously doing what originally felt wrong or seemed to be too slow. I started spending considerably more time on giving my colleagues the opportunity to contribute their thoughts and to maximize the probability that they will buy – in to the new project or initiative. As a result, I experienced much less conflict and resistance than before, when I used to follow my natural desire to push things through quickly. Over time, I realized the importance of personally slowing down so that the organization can speed up.

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
- Confucius