WHEN & WHERE: It's not easy to get an appointment with you. Is this a bit better at Christmas time?
Karl Stoss: December is one of the most difficult months ever. Quarterly financial statements, year end: All Supervisory Boards in which I am are now members of the Supervisory Board. There are also Christmas celebrations and things to be done in the old year. Of course, all this is very compressed - today I noticed that in 2016 I was only five times in Vorarlberg. Today and tomorrow belong to it. Too bad that you have too little time for many important things.
WHEN & WHERE: How do you reconcile this?
Karl Stoss: This is a question of experience, but also of self-discipline. Above all, you need a very understanding partnership, which accepts that you are only at home every four to five weeks and that you do not come home until midnight. I am a double CEO, both CEOs of Casinos Austria International, Casinos Austria Swiss, Supervisory Board Chairman Casinos Austria Swiss, CEO of Entertainment GmbH (subsidiary of the lotteries and casinos, Win2day, Winwin and tipp3) Casino Copenhagen (DNK), Supervisory Board Casino Munkebjerg (DNK) and Supervisory Board Reef Casino Trust (AUS). In addition, the Austrian Olympic Committee, member of the International Olympic Committee, member of the Investment Committee and the Supervisory Board at Signa, the Johann Frischeis Foundation, the Propter Homines Foundation (LIE), the Supervisory Board Uniqa Privatstiftung AG and the Supervisory Board Silvretta Montafon. These are times the most important functions, the list goes however still further. Then there are also the family and friends, which of course come inevitably too short. And then there is also myself. But it is important not only to have a function to write this on his business card. If I accept something, I would like to take responsibility for it. This is a question of division. Most of the time for me I have on the plane. There I sleep the most. 170 to 200 flights a year, 400,000 to 500,000 miles, many long-haul flights - I sleep just ten to twelve hours.
WHEN & WHERE: At the end of November you received the Great Golden Emblem of the Republic of Austria. How do you feel to receive such an award?
Karl Stoss: I see this as recognition for the entire workforce and accept awards for the employees. That is why I find it great that we have been distinguished by my person. There is commitment to this, which should not always be geared towards profit. One must also do something for society. I am grateful for many things that have been made available to me, but which I also have worked out. That is why I have tried to contribute in many activities, social, cultural and sporting commitments. I feel it as my duty not to limit myself to where I am employed and receive a salary.
WHERE & WHERE: How was your study period?
Karl Stoss: After the school-leaving exam in the textile school and the army, I started working for Benedikt Mäser in the textile industry. My boss has advised me to go to study. I thought about it and discussed it with my parents, who could not pay for it. So I decided to finance it myself. In the winter I was a ski instructor and in the summer I was a long-distance driver. I stayed in a room of the Capuchin monastery. These were simple conditions - four square meters with bed and desk, but I have not grown up in luxury. There was no heating, so it was quite fresh in winter. The cold, however, had the advantage that I had studied relatively quickly: in three semesters I finished the first section and after another five the second. This was a very nice and memorable time for me. They had joked together, made excursions, and could always talk about how one of the beaks grew. I was pretty easy to study. That is why we have also had a lot of fun and enjoyed life. If you try to have a small degree of discipline and know when it is enough, you can go through a study quite quickly despite these delights.
WHEN & WHERE: Would it have been different if your parents had financed your studies?
Karl Stoss: That can be, then the pressure would have been missing. In the second section, I got to know my wife today. She was also from modest circumstances and I did not want her parents to pay for her studies. That's why I paid our apartment. These are important experiences that you have to make as a young person. There were times when we did not have much to eat. Then there were just noodles with ketchup or a Rupp-Käsle. I took all the leave to get my dissertation ready.
WHEN & WHERE: So always completely goal-oriented?
Karl Stoss: It is good to be distracted from time to time, otherwise you would be kastenien itself. But you have to find the right measure. If this is done, a doctoral thesis is not a doctoral thesis (laughs). However, the pre-life of this discipline also has a great role model in companies.
WHEN & WHERE: How important is it to live with what you ask?
Karl Stoss: That's the most important thing! One must not only mean what one says, but must also do it. Otherwise one is a water preaching wine ranger!
WHEN & WHERE: What role does sport play in your life? They were also a successful water baller.
Karl Stoss: There is hardly time for sports. I go skiing three or four days a year, do two, three ski tours and two to three mountain peaks. Every two years I take at least two weeks' holiday for extreme hiking tours.
WHEN & WHERE: What peaks have you already climbed?
Karlstoss: The highest was the Lhakpa Ri in the Himalayas (7045 meters). Several six thousand, most recently the Illimani in Bolivia (6438 meters). I love that, because you never lose your ground because you are always with very simple people, Sherpas, vehicles, on the road. You sleep on the ground, in a tent. It is equally cold for everyone.
WHEN & WHERE: Have you ever been in a difficult situation or had to return?
Karlstoss: I'm more often the other way around than I stood up. Then I rely on the guides, who have experience and know the local conditions. If they say that it does not make any sense, I add their advice. One must also be able to subordinate oneself. On the mountain I'm not the boss!
WHEN & WHERE: Can this be applied to the business world?
Karl Stoss: Absolutely! You can not do everything and you need experts who you trust. But you also have to know the people who are entrusted with a task. That is why I travel so much. I want to gain an impression and not just read reports and logs. This base can only be established by personal presence. On a mountain I also go from time to time over a ridge or skipping a ditch, which I had not previously dared. So it is also in the professional life.
WHEN & WHERE: Did you also have to cope with setbacks?
Karl Stoss: They are there every day. You also get tree trunks in the way. Then you have to think about how to avoid or skip the tribes. It is usually the complex problems that come to me. What is easy to do is make my employees. So I often have to deal with difficult situations, although there are also some setbacks. Nobody has totally demoralized me.
WHEN & WHERE: How do you look into your future career?
Karl Stoss: Of course you are thinking about that. A board of directors in an AG simply has a limited duration. My contract expires at the end of 2017, but there is also a change of ownership. Then it is logical that companies, which take many millions in their hands to buy a share, order supervisory boards from their own stables. The Supervisory Board also determines the CEO. It can happen that this is no longer me. I would very much like to continue working. If it is not meant to be, I may have some more time for the other functions, my health, yoga and of course for the family. In addition, I would like to spend more time on my functions in sports.