Off hours with TVM Capital Group chairman Helmut Schuehsler

If he's in his home nation of Austria, Helmut Schueshsler spends his time skiing or heli-skiiing. But here in Dubai, he is happy to relax on the beach playing classical guitar.

Helmut M. Schuehsler, CEO of TVM Capital, plays guitar at his Palm Jumeirah home in Dubai. Sarah Dea / The National
Powered by automated translation

Helmut Schuehsler is the chairman of TVM Capital Group globally, and chairman and chief executive of TVM Capital Healthcare, a Dubai-based private equity company that is investing in health care in the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and India. The Austrian, 55, has been with the company since 1990, basing himself since 2005 in Dubai, where he lives with his wife. During his career, he has overseen more than 85 investments in the health market, and more than 40 initial public offerings.

What are your favourite things to do on the weekend?

I love sports and being outdoors, weather permitting. If I’m in Europe, and depending on the season, I go skiing or ski touring, heli-skiing or cross-country skiing, or sometimes I’ll just go out running or mountain biking. Alternatively, if I’m in the UAE I work on my large photo repository to create photobooks or play classical guitar. Often my wife, Hoda, and I simply spend the day in our house, reading, swimming, and relaxing in the garden, which is certainly not the least attractive of the options.

What do you consider to be your favourite hobby?

Skiing is definitely my favourite sport. However, I sometimes take aspects of work into my personal time – for example, I have been very active in the European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, including as chairman. I’m keen to bring the experience I had in developing the private equity industry – including co-operating and communicating with authorities – to my life in the Middle East.

What can’t you live without?

I’m not sure, since I think much of humanity can live without most of the things that we currently have, if we have to. I would not want to be without my wife, my family and my health. As long as these elements in my life are there I am a happy man.

What do you consider the secret to your success?

After building TVM Capital, a successful global healthcare and life science investment firm, over the last 25 years in Europe and the US, I decided to turn my attention more to new and emerging markets. Five years ago, my colleagues and I started building a very successful private equity company, TVM Capital Healthcare Partners, specialising in healthcare investments in the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and India. Personally, I strive to take a rational approach to decision-making, be a good listener, try not to overreact and try very hard to be fair to other people. When conflicts arise, I think it’s important to understand the other side and make a serious attempt to address their issues. I also think it’s important to always stay focused, with a clear view of the objectives to be achieved, keeping to what I know best, maintaining integrity in all we do, and addressing unmet needs through the creation and growth of businesses. I simply love creating successful businesses, and even from scratch if we have to.

What advice would you offer others starting out in your business?

Stamina and endurance are key. Also it’s important to keep a clear view on objectives, and putting a very good team together. The secret is in the credibility of the people who support a business concept.

How do you achieve a work-life balance?

There is no black and white. On vacation, I work several hours a day. While working I take time to work out, or attend to matters outside of the business. Sometimes I have to draw a line in the sand and not deal with business matters. One can be drawn into a maelstrom of responsibilities without ever having a moment of respite. This is the best recipe for disaster and illness.

How do you relax after the working day?

I like to play guitar, run or play football with friends and colleagues. I also spend time walking on the beach, and hanging out with friends.

If you weren’t running your business, what else would you be doing?

I would be running another business. I like this type of responsibility. I’m not so much interested in retiring. I believe working keeps me sharp and focused. I like to create value, for investors, society and myself and my family. I like to sense that what I am doing makes a difference.