The guru— Aarhus


Christian Stadil is the owner of Hummel, a Danish sports and fashion company, author of management books and a regular face on television. He tells Monocle about his business-model-with-a-conscience.

DanChurchAid, Herlufsholm, Hummel, The Leader's Way

“Think of it as CSR on steroids.” Christian Stadil, owner of Danish sports and fashion firm Hummel, is explaining his corporate philosophy. “I call it company karma and it’s at the core of Hummel. It’s based on the idea that what you send out into the world is what you get back; that companies have a social responsibility beyond their core activity.”

Stadil co-authored a book on the subject, Company Karma, and, as you would expect, his company is its showcase. Thus Hummel has sponsored the Afghanistan men’s and women’s football teams, founded a…

01: What time do you like to be at your desk?
I don’t have a fixed office, I am travelling so much. I usually begin the day checking my emails in bed at about 06.30.

02: Where’s the best place to prepare for leadership – an MBA or on the job?
It would have to be on the job.

03: Describe your management style.
Involving employees is key, which means tearing down the classic top-down management structure.

04: Are tough decisions best taken by one person?
I am an old soldier, so it is important to me to stand on the battlefield and take the bullets. So, yes, the ugly decisions you take by yourself.

05: Do you want to be liked or respected?
If respected means feared, then liked. Fear is old school.

06: What does your support team look like?
I don’t have a PA – that job is divided 10 per cent with one person, 10 per cent with another and so on. But now we are working more as Thornico the conglomerate, I am thinking about hiring someone. I get 150 mails a day, and I am not on Facebook or Twitter, simply because of the time they take.

07: What technology do you carry on a trip?
My iPhone. We have a strict IT policy at Hummel – you really have to need something to have it, so I don’t have an iPad yet.

08: Do you read management books?
I write them! One I do like is Yvon Chouinard’s Let My People Go Surfing.

09: Run in the morning? Wine with lunch? Socialise with your team after work?
I run if I’m preparing for climbing. No wine with lunch – it’s not a very Danish thing. But I do socialise.

10: What would your key management advice be?
Be the embodiment of the company. Be the change you want to see.


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