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[Herald Interview] DHL puts faith in female, Asian talent

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Published : 2014-06-04 20:56
Updated : 2014-06-05 15:14

DHL’s personnel chief Angela Titzrath. (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)
The logistics industry may be one of the most male-dominated sectors. But Deutsche Post DHL, the German-based logistics giant, has poured considerable resources into reversing this long-held tradition.

“We cannot allow ourselves the luxury to take only 50 percent of professional leaders out there,” Angela Titzrath, personnel and labor director at DHL, told The Korea Herald in a recent interview in Seoul.

“Having more female executives is no longer a moral necessity but economic necessity,” added the lone woman on the company’s four-member supervisory board.

After years of efforts to empower female talent, women now make up some 38 percent of DHL’s total workforce. The company’s executive suites have women filling 18 percent of the posts ― the highest-level across industries in Germany.

“Increasing the numbers is crucial. Of course, my agenda is to push forward not just on gender diversity but also on general diversity,” she said.

Traveling is routine for the human resources chief at one of the world’s largest employers. There are currently nearly half a million people working at DHL’s 220 global operations.

Recently, she has spent much of her time in Asia ― the all-important market for the company’s new “Strategy 2020,” under which it aims to grow 8 percent in sales every year from 2015 through 2020.

Along with business expansion in the region, the personnel chief has also focused on mining and nurturing talented people in Asia, especially those in the top corporate echelons.

“We are dedicating special resources to build up an even broader talent pool in Asia. When we realize our 2020, we would have a different board than we have today,” she said.

Titzrath was visiting Seoul in May to attend an awarding ceremony of the Korean unit’s “Upstair Program,” which offers financial support for educational activities of employees’ children.

They receive applications, including detailed study plans, from the kids not from their parents. The global program marked the second year in Korea.

“We are producing services. And it’s done through our employees,” she said of the company’s on-going efforts to treat workers with respect.

“We could not find anything better than education for kids.”

Titzrath, who had served diverse leadership positions at multinational companies such as Daimler and EvoBus, joined DHL in 2012. She said it took less than two days to decide on the career switch.

“DHL is the most global company that I know,” she said. “With 550 years of history, the company also always feels like a teenager as it was listed on the (DAX) stock 17 years ago.”

By Lee Ji-yoon (jylee@heraldcorp.com)

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