FLORENCE A turquoise Bianchi bicycle and its owner dressed in a tight sports outfit Alexander Stubb haven’t appeared in the mornings in the courtyard of the university in the center of Florence for months.
At the same time, a regular customer who was munching on health shakes has disappeared from the restaurant located five minutes’ walk away.
The future president of Finland has still not been forgotten by those who worked with him in Florence.
– When he arrived at work, the sound could already be heard from the yard. He greeted the students, talked to everyone and went around the different floors greeting colleagues, says the Finn who has been Stubb’s assistant for the past year Johanna Litzen.
This is how coworkers across the board seem to remember Stubb: approachable, unpretending and straightforward, with little tolerance for hierarchies.
As an international manager who is so well networked that he can only call from there For Hillary Clinton or send a text message to the Russian Foreign Minister To Sergei Lavrov.
As a person who treats ministers in the same way as Finns who stop by the university on their vacation and gets excited about Kaija Koo and Käärijä.
As a disciplined wellness freak who goes to bed at nine in the evening, wakes up at five in the morning and starts sending work messages sometimes already an hour later.
Stubb grew and renewed the university’s unit
From the beginning of 2020, Alexander Stubb worked as the director and professor of the School of Transnational Governance at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, Italy. Last fall, he was out of office due to the election campaign.
Before the second round of the presidential election, visited Florence to ask what people think about Stubbs in the workplace.
Students who graduate from the unit go on, for example, to high-ranking EU posts or international assignments. The two-year master’s program in English costs 28,000 euros.
Despite the title of professor, actual research work was not part of Stubb’s job description in Florence. He has no scientific publications from the EUI period.
In addition to management duties, Stubb lectures and mentors students. According to colleagues, many students sought the advice of the former prime minister and vice president of the European Investment Bank.
Colleagues say that Stubb took the unit in a modern direction and brought a “start-up-style spirit” to it. His study has a sofa and sofa cushions with Marimekko covers, but there is no separate desk. School staff drive to meetings in two-seater electric cars.
After Russia attacked Ukraine in February 2022, Stubb started a school on the YouTube page lecture serieswhere he began to analyze world political phenomena.
– Alex has the ability to talk about things that require a huge amount of information and preparation so that it looks easy. In a world that loves short videos, his tens of minutes of analysis collected tens of thousands of views, says the person in charge of the unit’s communications Roeland Scholtalbers.
“Alex doesn’t take himself too seriously”
In the speeches of colleagues from Florence, such qualities as natural optimism, energy and fast pace are also repeated. Many appreciate the fact that Stubb focuses on finding solutions instead of problems and is not afraid to admit if he has been wrong.
On the other hand, dynamism can sometimes be seen as impatience. The surface burns if someone wastes time and the leg starts to throb when you have to wait in line.
– He works hard for what he wants to achieve, but on the other hand, he emphasizes how important it is to find a balance between free time and work. Alex wants to create a healthy world where we are kind to each other and work together, says Scholtalbers.
Certain things at Stubb make coworkers smile a little. Health shakes, constant snapping of selfies and sports outfits are, in the opinion of many, a bit funny for a manager.
– Alex doesn’t take himself too seriously either, says Johanna Litzen.
Stubb lives methodically according to the 8+8+8 principle, which means that a day consists of 8 hours of work, 8 hours of sleep and 8 hours of other things. The leader’s life in Florence has hardly included official dinners, as the evening is devoted to sleeping.
Stubb also repeats that, according to him, a person should behave cool, calm and collected.
The role of the president is a representative and dignified task. Colleagues do not doubt that Stubb would be able to take over such a role, even though during the Florence period he did not like to push – representing for the sake of representing.
– Maybe he will have to soften his angular sense of humor and make certain changes in this prestigious role, says the professor of social policy in the unit Diane Stone.
– At least as president, it might not be appropriate to come to work in tight pink elastane anymore, he laughs.