During the annual Nordic Business Forum, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Tony Fernandes, CEO of AirAsia, and one of Malaysia’s best-known businessmen, and discussing various topics. Though he’s not a fan of wearing a suit, Fernandes showed up all dressed up for the occasion.
Time management is something that a current owner of an airline (AirAsia) and a Premiere League football club (Queens Park Rangers) can be expected to have some insights on. How does he find the time and the energy to do everything?
“It’s amazing what you can do in 24 hours. Life is about maximizing time. You can always find time if you want to. There’s always enough hours in the day,” Fernandes explains.
Known to be one of the nicest guys in business, Fernandes preaches about warmth and empathy and says that it doesn’t cost anything to be nice. We saw a glimpse of this during the Q&A session following his keynote in Nordic Business Forum 2014, when a lady asked on behalf of her 11-year-old daughter how to become a great pilot. Fernandes responded by saying that the people in AirAsia training center in Malaysia have a far better knowledge on that, and he’ll take both of them there at his expense.
“It comes second nature to me. CEOs sometimes hide themselves from the reality of dealing with customers because they are scared to know what people really think. I think if you are nice, approachable and humble you’ll be a much better boss and a much more effective leader,” he says.
To know more about what Tony considers to be the hardest business he’s been in and how he met Arnold Schwarzenegger at the gym in Hong Kong pumping iron, see the video above. Also, remember to subscribe to the Nordic Business Forum YouTube channel and be among the first ones to get all the exclusive interviews delivered straight to you!