Erlfried Taurer is CEO of Constantia Industries AG and was voted one of the most powerful industrial managers in Austria by the Industriemagazin trade journal in 2014. Mr Taurer has built up his success from scratch: a portrait of an inquisitive mind.
After finishing technical secondary school, Erlfried Taurer started working in Development as an engineer at a Carinthian industrial company, where he constructed injection moulding and bending die tools. But, as he explained, the purely technical work soon became “too little and too one-dimensional” for him. So he began to take courses on production organisation and quality management alongside his work, discovering in the process a keen interest in connections and business administration. The management rewarded his outstanding commitment and after a time offered him an assistant management position. In this role, he implemented quality management systems, became an auditor and went on to audit quality and environmental management systems for the car industry worldwide. He couldn’t keep away from business administration, and after around ten successful years as an engineer, Mr Taurer decided to embark on a programme of study in Applied Business Administration at Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt. “I can never stand still – or I never want to, I should say. Plus I wanted to supplement my practical experience with the necessary theoretical commercial knowledge so that I could master more exciting challenges and perform even better.”
Mr Taurer chose Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt because “the personal closeness between lecturers and students at AAU is unique. In my opinion, no other university in Austria offers students such a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.” And this, Mr Taurer believes, “has a positive effect on the entire programme of study.” Coming from the world of work, the course enabled Mr Taurer to examine job-related issues and dynamics from a distance and with a new breadth of vision. In addition, his ongoing personal connection between theoretical input and practical professional experience made a lot of things much easier for him in the programme of study. Therefore Mr Taurer’s advice for today’s students is as follows: “You should seize the opportunity to go on international exchanges. That’s how students get to know other cultures and experience the ‘best practices’ of international companies.”
Pioneer, guide and critical authority
As CEO of the holding company and Chair of the Supervisory Board, Erlfried Taurer concentrates on the company’s strategic direction. “It’s a very future-oriented, wide-ranging task that has to be discussed and responded to very carefully and cautiously.” Mr Taurer sees himself as a “pioneer, guide and critical authority” today.
Despite holding multiple offices and roles, he still maintains very close contact with Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt today. He supports the university, its students and graduates in whatever way he can – be it in the links between theory and practice, cooperation projects and collaboration with departments and research projects or discussions with professors on future industrial specialist fields. “I am proud to be an Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt alumni. So I try to be an ambassador for AAU outside Carinthia.”