Interview 2: Diego Massidda, Former CEO, Vodafone Hungary

  • 18 Oct 2012 12:00 PM
Interview 2: Diego Massidda, Former CEO, Vodafone Hungary
1. What’s been happening at work and at home since your first Xpat Interview?

Click here to read his first interview

On the work front we’ve managed to change the perception about how people in Hungary view our network. On a less positive note, we have a new tax which is not good news for our customers. Together with the tough economic conditions and the raising costs to do business, it forced us to adjust some of our prices in order to be able to keep investing in this country. We have launched a revolutionary new service package for our customers, Vodafone RED, which combines the first completely unlimited voice and text offer in the market with plenty of internet, priority support and of course access to the largest 3G network in Hungary. Also my boss changed, from a French to a German one.

At home we had good summer holidays – including time in Sardinia where our kids spent a lot of time with their grandparents, in that healthy environment. One child went back to school, the second started nursery and the third is in kindergarten, and they are all growing so fast.

2. On a scale of 1 to 10 how happy are you with your life in Hungary, and why?
8. I think life is really interesting in this country. I appreciate it more and more, making new discoveries all the time; there is a lot of richness to life here. I miss certain transportation links –there are limited flights home via Rome and Milan. The local language is hard to master and so it’s harder to feel fully at home, since I cannot interact freely in everyday life, I find most people are helpful – but still there is a language barrier.

3. What’s the best party you’ve been to while in Hungary, and why?
There was a good one just after I arrived, at Symbol, ‘Around the World in 80 Days’, it was my very first one here, with good music, and new people to meet in a very nice atmosphere.

4. What’s your favourite drink?
I like good wine, but I always have still water on my desk to keep me going during the day.

5. What hidden talents do you have?
I am quite musical, I started playing piano and later guitar, but did not invest enough in learning to play any instruments. However I was in an “a capella” singing choir during business school, with my bass voice, but I haven’t done too much with it recently.

6. What was the most interesting travel trip you have ever taken?
To Mexico and Guatemala with my wife in early 2000, we spent a couple of weeks there and had fantastic experience exploring the ancient Mayan culture.

7. If you were given a wish that could come true, what would you ask for?
I wish my parents were 20 years younger, to be able to enjoy themselves for longer with our children.

8. What’s the last book you read, and movie you watched?
Woody Allen’s film: To Rome with Love. It was great to see again so many known places of the Italian capital, where I spent many years. Most recently I read a book from a Sardinian writer, Michela Murgia, set in a village where a lady was secretly helping terminally ill people to die in peace.

9. If someone wrote a biography about you, what would the title be?
“From Sardinia to the World”

10. What is the perfect pizza toppings combination for you?
Buffalo mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, anchovies and oregano.

11. If you could trade places with any other person for a week, real or fictional, with whom would it be?
A great musician or singer, maybe Paul McCartney in the 60’s.

12. On a scale of 1 to 10 how unusual are you, and why?
8 - because I am quite good at a very wide variety of different things, but maybe not excellent in a specific one. I have had already 3 careers (civil engineer, consultant and manager) and lived in 6 different countries for years at a time, I think this is not very common.

13. What’s the best website you’ve ever visited, and why?, so clear and personalized.

14. Who do you admire the most, and why?
At the moment I admire the Italian Prime Minister, Mario Monti, for what he is doing to save his country from economic catastrophe, with a lot of personal sacrifice.

15. What do you like best and least about living in Hungary?
Budapest – the centre is breathtaking. Worst thing is the lack of transparency in many aspects of public and business life.

16. What has made the biggest impact on your life so far, and why?
My decision to move to South Africa from Sardinia, near the end of my university studies, that opened up a new world for me.

17. If you won USD 30 million, what would you do with the money?
I would give some to a charity related to Africa, and would invest the rest in order to have the freedom to do whatever I want for the rest of my life. I do not have particularly expensive tastes, and there is nothing I desire which I am not already able to buy. Unfortunately money cannot buy me more time to do everything I would like, and spend more of it with my family.

18. If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
What a wonderful world – the Luis Armstrong version.

19. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
Tuscany, or the South of France.

20. In ten years from now what will you be doing?
Leading a business where I can create new things, services, and lead a great team.

Related interviews:

Diego Massidda, Chief Executive Officer, Vodafone Hungary

XpatLoop Interview Three: Diego Massida CEO Of Vodafone Hungary


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