At what age can one obtain a C-suite role at a Fortune 500 company?
The answer for German executive Joe Buetzler: it can be done in one's late 20s.
In 2014, Buetzler placed his nameplate in the CFO office of Linde Engineering (Hangzhou), a branch of leading global industrial gas and engineering manufacturer Linde Group, at the age of 27. He then took on the role of CFO in China and then the entire Asia Pacific in the following years.
He could have chosen to live in some other country, but he set up roots in Hangzhou because of his love for Chinese culture and the city's livability and open business environment.
Buetzler led the establishment of Linde Group's Asia-Pacific engineering headquarters in Hangzhou in 2020. It was the first regional headquarters set up by a foreign Fortune 500 enterprise in Zhejiang province.
He has also been behind various digital solutions, from AR for remote support to 3D scanning to increase efficiency in manufacturing, as he believes that digitalization will allow his company to stay young and robust.
Buetzler obtained a foreign permanent resident ID card from the Chinese government in 2019, which, according to him, was a comforting affirmation after living in China for 13 years.
"I can now take part in social activities as a Chinese person, and this is my home," Buetzler said.