During the time of the deal I travelled to Athens at least ten times. When it is getting colder and colder in your home country it is very nice to travel south to enjoy the sun before winter really takes hold. Additionally, friends returning from Athens rave about the city´s new and exciting art scene, restaurants and bars. Unfortunately, the flight connections between Vienna and Athens are more focused on tourist rather than on business travelers (no early morning flights or as we call them “Pajama bombers”). Therefore, my time of arrival was always 00:30am (VIE-FRA-ATH). No chance for me to enjoy the sun or to explore the city. All those times I traveled to Athens I rarely left the airport. We usually stayed at the airport hotel and meetings were held there or at the plant (10 minutes away from the airport). However, I can highly recommend the “Old Fashioned” at the hotel bar.
Although I couldn’t explore Athens, there was still something new for me to see: a dedicated pharmaceutical packaging plant. I had visited many plants before, but this one was different. It was clean as a whistle. In fact, it was so clean that I would have eaten off the floor. I had never seen a plant as clean as that and it surprised and fascinated me. By the way my deep interest in production plants that I have now came with the job at MP.
My personal highlight of all the trips to Athens was the final due diligence workshop. It was the first time I got to manage it by myself (finance and legal). I felt awkwardly comfortable in this role. Like one of the big guys. I was part of discussions about the derivation of working capital and capex and found myself enjoying those debates. To be taken seriously and feeling appreciated can be very rewarding and motivating.