Dual citizenship, an international family, working in Brazil for several years at a time — for Nicolas Maier, connecting with other cultures has always gone without saying. Together with his team, he is responsible for putting together the TRATON GROUP’s annual report — a huge undertaking that requires everyone to pull together.
Numbers are a big part of the TRATON GROUP’s annual report, but they’re not everything: background information also plays an important role in this publication. “It has to, so that our stakeholders, in other words our shareholders, customers, and suppliers, can get a comprehensive picture of our Group,” Nicolas Maier explains. In order to compile this background information, 42-year-old Maier works closely together with a large number of colleagues, for example the Strategy and Communications departments, but also across the individual brands of the Group. International teamwork forms an integral part of what he does on a daily basis.
Working across different brands and countries suits Maier, who has a diploma in business administration and specialized in audit/controlling. His career began at an audit firm, and 2008 saw him join MAN. In 2009, MAN took over the Volkswagen Caminhões e Ônibus (VWCO) brand in Brazil, presenting Maier with a brilliant opportunity: he moved to São Paulo and spent a whole year working in Controlling at the VWCO headquarters. “My time in Brazil was a great experience that had a huge impact on me personally and professionally.” In fact, he is still in touch with the people he met there. Maier returned to Munich a year later, but already found himself back in Brazil in 2015, this time moving for three years to Rio de Janeiro. By that point, he had become fluent in Portuguese.
In Rio, Maier took over as CFO of what was then known as MAN Diesel & Turbo Brasil Ltda. and worked on a variety of projects. He was involved in the introduction of an SAP system and set up an Accounting and Tax department. After returning to Germany, he prepared TRATON SE’s first set of financial statements for the company’s IPO together with a team of employees and consultants. “I did have to work a lot during that time, but I enjoyed learning so many new things.” When asked about his favorite project, Maier pauses for a second: “That’s like asking a parent to pick a favorite child: one is maybe a little older, the other a little younger — but at the end of the day, you love them all the same and see something good in all of them.”
Maier’s mother is French, so he has dual citizenship. The accounting expert really values the opportunity to work in international teams. “There can be misunderstandings when you don’t all speak the same language,” Maier admits. But he is quick to add that if you bear that in mind, have a little patience, and approach the other person’s cultural background with an open mind, diversity within the team is something you can benefit from enormously. “You have to look at the world through an intercultural lens. It makes it easier to see things from someone else’s standpoint.” Sometimes, this allows you to realize that when it comes to projects, it’s not just your way or the highway. When Maier isn’t working, he likes to stay active, for example hiking, swimming, or rollerblading. He is also taking tennis lessons. And he spends a lot of time outside in nature. He especially enjoys being in the mountains: “I like how quiet it is up there.” Maier also assumes an intercultural lens when he is on vacation. He and his wife travel a lot together, exploring the world and discovering other cultures.