Christian Havrehed: Biography highlights

Christian Havrehed is an adventurer with solid business experience, having worked in strategy consulting and as a managing director. He uses his adventures to shift perceptions of what is possible, working with culturally diverse teams to reach far out goals. He has extensive China experience and seeks to promote Sino-Western cross-cultural understanding. He combines adventuring with charity and he believes anything is possible.

Known for:

Adventurers and Explorers

Based in:


Languages spoken:

English, Chinese, German

Full biography of Christian Havrehed

Christian Havrehed’s Background

Christian’s first visit to China coincided with the 1989 June 4th Tiananmen Incident and he ended up leaving China on an evacuation plane, having experienced being in tank fire. Since then he has lived and worked in China for 20 years and he is first hand aware of the challenges Chinese and Westerners experience working together. Although Christian’s adventures tend to be China-centric his lessons learned are universally applicable to leadership and team performance.

To test the limits of cross-cultural cooperation, he decided to create the ultimate Sino-Western joint-venture, where the biggest downside was not bankruptcy, but death.

What better way to showcase the power of cross-cultural collaboration than to join an experimental unsupported Trans-Atlantic rowing race in a rowboat built in China, and with a Mainland Chinese rowing partner, who could not row and had never been out of sight of land? In all fairness, Christian could not row either, so they were a well-matched pair.

It took Christian and his Chinese rowing partner Sun Haibin 56 days to row 5,000km across the Atlantic ocean, in a boat the size of a large dining room table, under extreme physical discomfort and at the mercy of the sea. The vastness of the ocean played tricks on their minds, including an out of body experience. Language difficulties, cultural differences, and fatigue tested their resolve to the full. Despite the adversity, the pair managed to turn their differences into advantages and they finished 8th in a fleet of 36, ahead of many experienced mono-cultural rowing teams.

Christian became the first Dane to row across an ocean, and Sun Haibin the first Chinese – and Asian. Their project was the first privately organised sports event to be featured on Chinese national television and on the front pages of major Chinese newspapers. With their project they raised funds for Christian’s alma mater, the United World College of the Atlantic in Wales, a school whose mission is to promote international understanding and a sustainable future.

Christian’s book “Beijing to Barbados in a Rowboat” has been published in English, Chinese, as well as Danish, and has sold more than 20,000 copies. The 2020 updated edition can be purchased on-line.

Christian has also run the length of the Pyrenees (880km distance, 60km of elevation) from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, raising money for a lifeboat to be deployed in Mozambique, rowed from England to Denmark with three British Royal Marines, and he is currently planning a new row with Sun Haibin from China, via Korea to Japan, in order to retrace the voyage of Xufu, an alchemist who in 210BC was sent by the first Chinese Emperor (now known for his army of terracotta warriors) to bring back the Elixir of Immortality kept by the Gods in the Eastern seas.

In the unlikely event Christian and Sun Haibin should fail to find the Elixir, the project will still bring to life Chinese history in a new and engaging way, for Westerners and Chinese alike.

Christian has 20 years’ experience in delivering talks and teambuilding, which challenge the status quo and inspire audiences from all backgrounds. Thanks to his extensive business experience, Christian understands client needs quickly and engages professionally with anyone from C-Level to shop floor. As a speaker Christian is down to earth, humorous, approachable, and his clients rate him highly.

Christian can deliver his services in English, Mandarin Chinese, German and Danish.



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Available for:

After Dinner Engagement
Guest Appearance
Panel Participation

Watch Christian in action

1/1 videos
Christian Havrehed – MTX Connect
Christian Havrehed – MTX Connect

“I’ve always been weary of applying sporting analogies to business problems. Most sports are too time bound to provide relevant parallels. But when the endeavour takes a year to plan, a cross cultural team to prepare and two complete strangers willing to spend over 50 days together in a three meter square box to execute, this is no longer an analogy - it’s a management map disguised as an adventure.”

Emmanuel Gobillot
Leadership consultant and best-selling author
ITT Inc.

“At our 2-day global summit in Rome, where 120 managers participated from several continents, Christian provided a half day program comprising an inspirational talk followed by an in-door team building exercise. We had asked him to structure his program around one of our core values “Collective Know-How”, which he delivered excellently and with high energy. I highly recommend Christian as a speaker and team builder. His ability to tailor his program to our needs was unique and he really managed to capture and engage the participants.”

Keiko Claassen
Executive Director - Creation & Branding

“Christian and Sun Haibin were excellent Inspirational Speakers over six consecutive days during the gala dinners for the Panamera launch in China. Their captivating story inspired us and made us laugh. Our sales force received an extra boost of motivation and understood the value of team work and commitment. Professionally delivered, in Chinese, and of real value to our business.”

Helmut Bröker
Chief Executive Officer, China

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