New Member Spotlight:Paul Johannes

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Paul Johannes
Occupation: Vice President of North Asia for Qatar Airways
Member since: November 2014

What's been your career path?

I was born into an airline family and started my career at KLM (and next moved to) Singapore Airlines. Then I served at Qatar Airways in 2004, first in Doha, then London to manage the European market. Last year, I was asked to move from the biggest market (Europe) to the fastest growing market (North Asia). We used to have Asia as one region, but we wanted to give this part its own focus.

What's the most significant accomplishment of your career?

Being part of the growth of Qatar Airways in Europe. When I landed in Europe to take up the position, we had 17 ports. When I left, we had grown to 32 ports. And we have just launched our 34th destination – Amsterdam. All these cities connect well to our Chinese destinations.

How’s business?

Good. China is becoming more connected to the world. We have 45 services into greater China a week. We're definitely hiring, (especially in the) sales office.

What are challenges you’re currently facing?

Managing the growth and making sure that we have the right product in the right place.

What's the best advice you’ve ever received?

Lately, to learn Mandarin if you live in China. I'm slowly getting there. I'm all about communication and I want to communicate with the people around me in the office and on the street. When you're in a country, you need to do your best to adapt.

What music are you currently listening to?

British electro group Clean Bandit

What's your most memorable meal?

It wasn't too long ago – Red Bowl at the Rosewood. The service is good, and the food is really nice.

What's your favorite destination?

I really, truly love Hong Kong. In Europe, I love Copenhagen and London.

Favorite book?

The one I've always kept with me is The Alchemist.

What would people would be surprised to learn about you?

I've got two Asian great-grandmothers – one Indonesian, one Singaporean.

What are you getting out of your AmCham China membership so far?

For us, here in China, the US is becoming a very important area. AmCham China is the logical place to interact with members who have similar connections in the US.