Zahal Levy - president of MediHelp Internation - Money Channel - June2013
Zahal Levy - believing in good leadership, not the trappings of power
A mix of bike riding, love for Opera music, transparent and ethical leadership, insurance and a childhood in colonial Africa emerge while talking to Zahal Levy, the president and co-founder of MediHelp.
interview for Romania-Insider.com, Levy
talks about his
business ventures and his
belief in the importance of good leadership, something which he
thinks Romania lacks.
During the two and a half weeks on the back of his
motorcycle, while riding across South Eastern Europe, Zahal Levy
didn't feel the need to disconnect from his
While passing through Bulgaria, Macedonia, Greece and its islands, together with a group of other motorcycle riders, the Israeli business man, who brought Euromedic to Romania, stayed close to the business that now takes most of his
time - the medical insurance broker MediHelp.
This was not a one and only trip across Europe.
has had many other adventures on Europe's roads.
In Romania, however, not so much, not because of the poor quality of the roads, but rather because of the hectic driving, not to be found in neighboring Bulgaria and Hungary, where MediHelp
also operates and where Zahal Levy flies in for business.
Back in his
homeland Israel, where he
has the same bike model as the one he
owns in Romania, biking is not a challenge: in four hours he
can cross the country.
In perfect English with a surprising British accent, the Israeli who was brought up in an English language school in Africa in the 60s, where he father was working as a diplomat, speaks about the qualities he found in Romania when deciding to invest here for the first time in the late 90s.
meeting room at the top floor of a small office building close to Victorie Square - the meeting room that he
uses sometimes if he
wants a moment for himself - Zahal Levy
talks about Romanian society, blessed with many talents but cursed against moving full steam ahead, like a train without a head, because of the lack of leadership.
"This country could have been number one in Europe, I think, if it was better led," the businessman says.
Back in his
military service in the Israel Navy
, Zahal Levy
learned how to become a good leader.
The military service and his
father's example shaped the leader he
"I have the tendency to trust my people and give them authority.
On the one hand, I trust and support them as much as I can, and on the other, I am very strict.
Some of them would say that I am very strict and demanding," he
An accomplished and confident man, Levy
door open to colleagues.
shares the office and places little value on the ornaments that might make some feel they're the boss.
The military experience, which is mandatory for men and women in Israel, contrasts sharply for most to a love of art, something that Levy
inherited from his
mother, who was a 'hunter of beautiful things', he
Much like her
likes to collect beautiful objects.
continued the family tradition and picked up on the family love of Opera music.
This is intimately knit into his
being, to the point that Levy's long lost talent and the chance to have been a composer and conductor in an Operatic orchestra is a cause of sorrow.
"I could have been a great musician.
In the next life!
In this life, he
chose to make a difference on another level.
"I think I am very very rich, if richness means you are happy and content with what you have, and you have people who appreciate you and who love you, and you can show what you did in your life that mattered to somebody," Levy says when asked whether he
considers himself a rich man.
Owner of a house on the beach in Bulgaria and one in Romania and knowing that Romania is just a temporary home for him, Levy
thinks about the time when he
will return to Israel, where he
"At some point I will want to go back to Israel and close this chapter.
I know I have had my contribution here, I created jobs, I changed the map of healthcare here.
But there will be a time to go back to where I belong, and I belong to Israel," he
The same passion sparks in his
eyes when talking about his
two daughters and his
son, soon to study medicine, with whom he
has a great relationship.
Children and his
business enterprises are the biggest accomplishments in Zahal Levy's life.
The Romanian leg of his
life journey taught him much about himself and gave him the opportunity to do big scale projects, which would have probably not been possible in Israel, where the level of development is already high.
is unhappy with the corruption and the impossible bureaucracy in Romania, and sometimes with the low level of integrity and unethical behavior.
"A lot of it also comes from the lack of leadership, which is the number one problem of this country," he
so called 'aluminum personality'- getting angry very quickly and calming down fast - and his
tendency to criticize everything - in a positive way, he
managed to get people on his
side in business over the long term.
perceives Romanians as nice and friendly and hasn't changed his
mind about it ever since choosing to turn the clean page that Romania was back in the late 90s.
(photo source: Zahal Levy)
Zahal Levy (MediHelp International President): This was when I left Romania to my assignment in Euromedic International… Bucuresti WWW: Yes, you were leaving, but you promised you would come back regularly.