Thomas Vollmoeller, chairman and CEO of Xing, the largest business network in the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), announced yesterday in an article on the Xing website (here in German) that he was embarking on a sabbatical until January.

Writing from a café in Sydney – his career break began earlier this week – he stated that a company head must set a good example and show that „it’s okay to have a private life“. Vollmoeller is the first leader of a German publicly-traded company to take a sabbatical, according to an article yesterday in the Gruenderszene.

Dr. Thomas Vollmoeller, Chair and CEO, Xing AG (courtesy of Xing)

Dr. Thomas Vollmoeller, chair and CEO of Xing, enjoys Sydney (courtesy of Xing)

There doesn’t appear to be anything worrying behind this move by Vollmoeller, who’s been at the helm for over four years. He wrote that he looks forward to returning to his desk next year „with new ideas and fresh energy.”

Xing sees itself as the leader in DACH, not only in business networking and recruiting, but also in building better workplace environments.

In 2013, Xing launched an initiative called New Work, where the future of work was discussed. That same year, it introduced the New Work Award, given annually to a DACH-region company, or individual that demonstrates the most pioneering approach to improve the work world. Since then, the company has started a New Work-themed site, called Xing Spielraum, which roundtables and hosts events in German cities.

In February, Xing published the “New Work Book”, an e-book (in German) featuring essays from 35 employment experts on how organizational culture can be reformed.

In his article, Vollmoeller complained that the work situation in Germany is still a far cry from the New Work ideal of flexibility, “out of the box” thinking and democracy. So what better way to throw support behind the ideal than to make the CEO a role model for New Work?

The sabbatical could also be seen as Vollmoeller’s reward for overseeing a period of unprecedented growth at the Hamburg-based business network. Xing has grown revenue consistently and paying membership numbers grew nearly consistently, since he has been at the reins.

Xing now has a market cap of $1 billion U.S..

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