Goodbye Economist, hello Handelsblatt

One day almost twenty years ago, I bounded out of The Economist’s modernistic “Plaza” in London’s St. James’s, skipped past a few of the street’s posh gentlemen’s clubs and ran into Green Park, where I let out a primal scream. Aged 27, I had just got a job offer from The Economist. A dream was coming true.

Since then The Economist has sent me from London to Hong Kong, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles and Berlin. But wherever I was, I worked with more or less the same people. People who are quirky, humorous and unusually talented–in some cases genius. We have been a family of sorts, sometimes dysfunctional, usually functional, but always tight. It is no exaggeration to say that The Economist, where I spent half of the life I remember living, is part of my identity.

That’s why it was terrifying even to contemplate leaving The Economist when I was approached with an opportunity to do something risky, new and exciting. But it was also terrifying to say No and live with the regrets of “What if”. I’m exactly half-way between the start of my career and retirement. Lots to contemplate.

Helpfully, my wife and few other people reminded me that not too long ago I wrote a book about people who made just such life decisions (and who made them for the better as for the worse). In particular, they pointed me to chapter 8 (“The Prison of Success”) and chapter 10 (“The Threshold of Middle Age”) in Hannibal and Me.

And so, last week I returned to the Plaza in St. James’s–probably for the last time, because The Economist is moving out this summer after 52 years–to say goodbye. We rented a dungeon in a pub around the corner and got sentimental and boozy. The ale and humor flowed as it only does at The Economist. (At least the humor. By the way, I can now finally stop writing “humour”.)

Here is the little gift they sent me off with. An elephant. Surus, presumably, the one Hannibal rode. They didn’t specify whether I’m mounting it on the way to Cannae or Zama.

Surus leaving drinks

So here I go. Within a few weeks, I will become, still based in Berlin, editor-in-chief of Handelsblatt Global. It is the young and insurgent English-language edition in a much older and larger group of German publications, including Handelsblatt (roughly the German equivalent of the Wall Street Journal) and Wirtschaftswoche (the analogue of Business Week). I’m not sure exactly what awaits me, and that’s somewhat terrifying–and hugely exciting.

Goodbye Economist; hello Handelsblatt.



15 thoughts on “Goodbye Economist, hello Handelsblatt

  1. Many congratulations! Your excitement is evident.

    You are embracing something new and not fully known to you – always a good thing – and you will make a huge success of it, as you always do.

    You should have looked me up when yu wrer here. 🙂

  2. Congratulations again! And best of luck. I’d say you’re on your way to Cannae to do a decisive envelopment of the German media!

    Hope all goes well. BTW let me know what you think of I Too.

  3. 20 years is nothing in the scheme of things. And then as you get older, suddenly one day you feel younger, as then the bags feel lighter. 🙂

  4. Congratulations, Andreas. I am not even remotely educated enough to compare Handelsblatt and The Economist, except for the colour of the front page. The Handelsblatt orange always reminds me of my parents’ 1970s kitchen. But I am getting sidetracked here. What I actually wanted to say is that after all your pieces that I had the pleasure to read it seems to me that there is no one on this planet who could make both the merits and the limits of a German “social market economy approach” more transparent and easier to understand to everyone, including myself of course. Best of luck on what must be one of the more exciting missions out there.

  5. That you would eventually forsake the Economist for a German publication was something I was expecting. So I’m not at all surprised at your joining Handelsblatt. I have to say though, that, as a fairly regular reader of Der Spiegel, I would rather you’d have joined “Spiegel”!!

    Anyway, my sincerest congratulations on this, your latest career-move. I feel sure you’ll be the same success at Handelsblatt as you were at the Economist. .

    I do hope you’ll find time to continue posting on this blog, and, hopefully, more regularly than you have of late!! I’ll keep visiting it in expectation…………

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