x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Typical day varies with the time zone

Michael Bayer pulls away from Gitex long enough to discuss a typical day in his life as president of the EMEA region for Avaya, the global communications company.

Michael Bayer, AVAYA President. Antonie Robertson / The National
Michael Bayer, AVAYA President. Antonie Robertson / The National

Michael Bayer recently took a few minutes out of a busy day at the Gitex technology exhibition to discuss what his day is typically like. The president of Avaya, which is a business communications company, talks about overseeing operations across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.


I wake up [but] it just depends on which time zone I'm in. On a Central European time zone I would get up about 5 or 6 in the morning. When I'm in the Middle East I'm normally waking up around 6 in the morning. I normally take an hour workout then a shower, and a very good breakfast because I'm not a lunch person.


I'm going to be in the office. I have a different life when I'm in my headquarters than when I'm out there in the region. Today, I'm at Gitex.


I'm very keen to keep in touch with my people (employees), so we have joint lunches to get a feeling on how the operations are doing, what the mood of the people is and kind of get down the wall a bit between central executives and local executives. More in western Europe we'd do these "pizza and peer" sessions where you have the topic of the day, you have a more casual way of talking about it.


[Sometimes] we do cake and coffee in the afternoon. It's just to build an open forum where you invite different [employees with various] functions to just break down the barrier of hierarchy to be personal, accessible, especially right now. It was the start of our fiscal year on October 1 … [and] to get first-hand interaction between what the needs of my employees are versus what is the corporate mission and how we are looking to take the business forward.

Late afternoon-early evening

I try to limit the corporate calls [and] activities and try to be booked with my customers and clients and partners as well when I'm travelling. A typical day here visiting some of the Middle East countries or operations would be having three or four customer, partner meetings then most likely a dinner associated to that.


I've been here too often to go and see Dubai for a few minutes. But what I'm doing here with my team was a nice coincidence. My area VP for Middle East and Africa turned 50 on Tuesday, so we invited the whole staff for kind of a beach party and evening buffet with a bit of music. It was supposed to be [a surprise] but he found out somehow.


I'm not that bad at switching off, so I'm normally quite tired at 11 or 12 when I close my last emails or [finish my] last calls with the US.

* Neil Parmar