Interview 2: Christopher Mattheisen, Former Chairman & CEO, Magyar Telekom

  • 26 Apr 2010 12:00 PM
Interview 2: Christopher Mattheisen, Former Chairman & CEO, Magyar Telekom
Chris Mattheisen (1961) studied economics at Indiana University of Bloomington and at ColumbiaUniversity. He first came to Hungary in 1990 to start a strategic planning and business consulting company.

In 1993, in his capacity as a marketing manager of U.S. West International, he helped launch various Hungarian, Polish and Czech mobile service operators. He worked as the marketing and sales director of TMH between 1993 and 1996. Between 1997 and 1999, he ran sales and marketing activities of MediaOne in London, and later worked in Britain as a business, sales and marketing director of BT’s Cellnet.

In September 2002, Mr. Mattheisen became Chief Officer of Residential Services of Magyar Telekom and in January 2005, Chief Officer of the Wireline Lines of Business (“T-Com”, including Residential Services, Internet and Network divisions). From 6 December 2006, he became the Chief Executive Officer of Magyar Telekom, he has been the Chairman of the Company’s Board of Directors since 21 December 2006.

1. What’s been happening at work and at home since your first Xpat Interview?
Well, for one thing the change of government has had an impact on the country, and the business environment. No major turbulance in my home-life. Finally took the plunge and got a house near Lake Balaton.

2. On a scale of 1 to 10 how happy are you with your life in Hungary, and why?
Trying to be objective, given that I’ve lived in this country since 1990, and so it’s my second home, I’d certainly say an 8. The missing two points are connected to my hopes for the economy to get better.

3. What’s the best party you’ve been to while in Hungary, and why?
Probably in the early 90’s - a time of amazing euphoria in Hungary, it felt like anything was possible – it was certainly at a house-party, but I can’t remember which one exactly ;)

4. What’s your favourite drink?
Black currant juice, a great Hungaricum.

5. What hidden talents do you have?
I don’t know how hidden it is anymore as I’m playing a concert tonight, I sing and play the guitar, kinda country-rock-blues.

6. What was the most interesting travel trip you have ever taken?
Albania when the country first opened up in 1991, I was one of the first tourists to witness what it was really was there. It was an amazing experience. People pointed at us, there were no cars, but lots of goats, and also lots of old bunkers. We went to the coast, up the mountains, and also visited Tirana.

7. If you were given a wish that could come true, what would you ask for?
Ten more wishes – one of them being the euro-zone crises finally coming to an end.

8. What’s the last book you read, and movie you watched?
‘Guns, Germs and Steel’ by Jared Diamond, its about ‘the fates of human societies’. I aatched a French film at Uránia last week , “Un heureux évenement” (A Happy Event)

9. If someone wrote a biography about you, what would the title be?
Ramblin' Man

10. What is the perfect pizza toppings combination for you?
A pizza's not a pizza without pepperoni and mushrooms.

11. If you could trade places with any other person for a week, real or fictional, with whom would it be?
Sting – clearly!

12. On a scale of 1 to 10 how unusual are you, and why?
(Laughs) 7, probably because I am such a Ramblin’ man.

13. What’s the best website you’ve ever visited, and why?
Aside from and the Magyar Telekom website,

14. Who do you admire the most, and why?
Steve Jobs, but everyone says that so I won’t. Albert Einstein.

15. What do you like best and least about living in Hungary?
Best is the openness of people. What I hate most is that the cops can pull you over for no reason, that they do not have to have a reason to stop you.

16. What has made the biggest impact on your life so far, and why?
Quitting my job in London, where I worked for a consultancy company, and coming here in 1989 – that really had a big impact on my life.

17. If you won USD 30 million, what would you do with the money?
Buy a Bugatti Veyron, in black.

18. If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
Stairway to Heaven, by Led Zeppelin (not the Rolf Harris version).

19. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
I’m here ;)

20. In ten years from now what will you be doing?
In the communication technology business, but things are changing quite quickly, so I don’t honestly know.

  • How does this interview make you feel?