“Although I received my lawyer’s warrant in 1985, I haven’t had a typical lawyer’s career,” says Dr Hermann Kresse. “The family business was journalism and media, so I went into media marketing, getting my first job with German public television. After three years at an advertising agency, I joined one of the two private television channels in Germany at that time, RTL. There, I had the privilege of holding one of the first management positions in marketing and politics for six years.”
Then, in 1995, another unmissable opportunity presented itself to Hermann. “The prestigious German Trade Fair Association was in the process of internationalising, and I was offered the exciting chance to head the association as CEO, which I accepted, ultimately serving there for a decade and travelling to India, China and South East Asia,” he recalls.
“Following that, I decided to end my career within the exhibition industry, and instead to use my experience to create an exhibition-related consultancy combined with a law firm.”
When he relocated to Malta in October 2012, Hermann widened the scope of the business even further. “Following our move to Malta I intended to reduce my workload, but I quickly received many requests from German-speaking companies and clients to conduct business in and via Malta,” he says.
“I adapted the firm accordingly, to focus on German-speaking clients. I now assist them, regardless of their field and industry, with nationalising their business.”
Hermann’s adaptable and client-focused approach has been the key to his ongoing career success, no matter the industry. “I am a coordinator and a motivator – my accomplishments lie in understanding what the client really wants. I strive hard to communicate with each client, so that I can fully appreciate their background and what is driving them forward. Of course, this is where my consultancy experience is particularly valuable.”
In fact, Hermann describes communication as the ‘running theme’ in his career. “I believe it is very important to connect with people. I will always speak in person to a client, rather than email, where possible – playing email ‘ping-pong’ rarely moves you forward.”
Hermann’s insistence on effective communication even extends into his process of taking on new clients. “The quality of a client relationship matters a lot to me. When I receive a new request for a mandate, I will only accept it if the client is willing to sit around a table for half a day to talk about what they want and need,” he maintains. “It’s about putting a face to the name, and it builds trust. Clients feel more at ease in a face-to-face conversation in their mother tongue. Also, by meeting in person, we make sure to cover all the aspects of the mandate, including legal, tax, or markets, and to have all this information in clear view from the start makes the challenge interesting.”
Overcoming challenges is indeed a regular part of Hermann’s role. “One of the biggest tasks I face is to be always thinking of tomorrow in terms of the clients’ projects, in how we can best address new technologies – particularly blockchain – as well as legal developments and other environmental variables which may influence the project,” he explains. “Another is the many roles I must inhabit as CEO of the firm. My work is both legal and non-legal, in that I am giving legal advice, but I must stay on top of business opportunities and remain aware of the human resources side of the job. I always undertake the hiring of new applicants for clients’ projects personally, since it’s not just about knowledge, it’s also about each team member’s personality and attitude.”
In each interview with a potential job candidate, Hermann is also considering if the person will fit with the law firm’s philosophy, which he summarises in four simple terms. “The core values upon which we anchor everything we do at the firm are integrity, trust, transparency and feedback, or ‘ITTF’ as I like to abbreviate them,” he outlines.
“It’s always important to work with people who have a certain approach towards their work and are reliable – reliability is non-negotiable. Only then can one build a basic level of trust, give transparency in what we do, and take action based on client feedback.”
These core values continue to propel Dr Kresse International Law Firm forward, supporting Hermann as he looks to the future and embarks on another busy year ahead. “2019 will be the year in which we will have our first valid experiences within virtual assets legislation, as we are about to launch a major gaming project and are débuting a number of blockchain and cryptocurrency projects,” he explains. “Over the next five years, our values will remain the same but, beyond that, I predict we will grow into one of the estimable players on the Maltese islands for German-speaking clients,” he concludes.
MaltaChamber.org.mt is proud to be serialising MaltaCEOs 2019, a high-profile publication consisting of 50 in-depth interviews with leading CEOs in Malta. Celebrating the most influential business minds in the country, two different interviews will be featured on this business news portal week by week. MaltaCEOs was created by Content House Group in collaboration with the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise & Industry.