Having lived in some of the main Western European countries and having worked through bigger and smaller companies throughout his career, Sebastian Hansen can deal with local market specifics better than almost anyone else. He is German, grew up in Belgium, now lives in France, he can speak three languages and has extensive experience with managing assets across different areas. His journey in P3 was very international as well – he started as an Asset manager in France, then held the same position in Germany, Netherlands and Italy. And he made his way to become our Head of Asset Management for Western Europe.
Sebastian, your career in P3 is quite fascinating. What was your biggest challenge so far?
When evolving in P3 I had to find my place on a corporate level, as I was coming from an operating on a more local level. It is a challenge every day to define this “a bit in between” of diplomacy, to move each country up to a corporate level. I have to make sure the different local ways to deal with things go together with the core P3 values and expectation, so P3 can forge its identity across the whole chain of value creation.
Why is your role so important for our business?
Understanding both sides of our organisation, corporate and local, I can make sure the different mechanics work together. A company is like a machine with a lot of wheels. I am putting oil wherever necessary in AM to make sure we create long-term value for our shareholders and customers.
“A company is like a machine with a lot of wheels. And I am putting oil wherever necessary in Asset Management to make it work.”
Can you tell from your position how can we grow as a company? And how are you going to manage it?
I think this can happen on two levels. At first it is making Asset Managing a smooth mechanic. And secondly it is creating opportunities from the inside and through existing customers. A company is a living organism. Its purpose is to acquire an ever-increasing number of long-term customers, to grow by expanding. And also it should do things to retain and maintain the confidence of the sector.
What do you love about real estate?
Real estate and especially Asset management is very multi-disciplinary. It ranges from finance, engineering, through project management, legal to commercial. And above all, it is always about people. That’s why I’m so passionate about this sector and why I feel good about it. I love to see our juniors grow, when my team hits our targets and simply when someone says honestly thank you.
“I love to see our juniors grow, when my team hits our targets and when someone says honestly thank you.”
You’ve managed to go through many changes in our business. Can you advise on how to adapt to it?
You just have to stay calm and reflect on the opportunities that any change gives us. And I think as we go forward as a company and as an individual we actually create change. It is still necessary not to look at it as a constraint.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Cooking, laughing, my family, some sports. I have three kids and that helps me to value the really important things in life. Also I like staying updated on what goes on in our world. My passion is “reinforced” French cuisine, recipes sprinkled with ingredients from other cuisines, simmered dishes, the bread I make myself from various flour types. I consider myself an inhabitant of the world, and I take some time to understand what’s going on in the world, and to find my place in it. I like things that bring people together, cooking is part of it, others are laughter and good humour. Humour is a tool, a real balm, there is nothing like a little self-mockery to relieve tension. So keep smiling!