Andrzej Hass has had a strong presence in Polish business for more than 30 years.
He built his capital group by his own efforts, through consistency and regularity (after the war, when Poland became a communist country, all the family assets were nationalised). Starting in the 1990s, he used his skills, practical knowledge and network to create one of the largest private holding companies in Poland.
The history of the family business dates back to before World War II, when Andrzej Hass's father Stanislaw Henryk Hass was a well-known manufacturer and factory owner.
Stanisław Henryk Hass with his wife and sister in Bydgoszcz, 1946
World War II left Poland in ruins. The Hass family property that survived and was not destroyed in the bombing was nationalised and taken over by the state.
The family was forced to start all over again. It was only in 1956 that Stanislaw Hass obtained permission to reopen the Cristal confectionery in Bydgoszcz.
Andrzej Hass - childhood memories:
"I was six years old when I started smoking. When I finished, I was seven, my mother talked the idea out of me... I stopped for a while. Mummy wouldn't give me any, so I had to work out how to organise these cigarettes". Need is the mother of invention, in Andrzej's case, entrepreneurship.
"To this day I remember how we lived in a two-room flat in four people: me, my sister, my father and my mother. The other rooms were taken away from the parents and a young family, the Węglewskis, were registered there. Also we had 2 rooms joined together, while our neighbours had rooms diagonally apart. Shared kitchen, shared bathroom.
Most of the time after school was spent in the courtyard. On the occasion of my First Communion, my dad gave me a pseudo-racing bike, a Czech Favorit, as a present. I couldn't particularly ride it around town as I was too small for it and there were no specially marked bike lanes as there are today.
Just driving around in circles in the yard, which was not the biggest, was - to say the least - quite boring. But I saw a slight desire among my colleagues to ride such a bike.
I therefore lent them my bicycle on condition that everyone had to pick bottles at the rubbish tip. We used to wash these bottles in my upstairs bathroom, then I sold them in the shop next door for a zloty apiece.
As an 11-year-old, I was already smoking, so bottle sales allowed me to buy some pretty good cigarettes. The bottle-hunting business lasted until
I was thirteen - until the moment when my family and I moved out of the alley and moved to Polanki Street.
I already had certain business skills. When my parents sent me to the summer camp and my esteemed daddy brought me two thermoses of ice cream he had made, I sold them to my friends for a zloty a large spoon. And so, as I recall, I had 120 zloty in coins.
I knew that dad needed powdered milk, which was not available everywhere - it was only sold in pharmacies because it was supposedly only for children. I look - and there is a pharmacy on the market in Tuchola!
And there is powdered milk in the pharmacy. It cost 18 zloty, so I bought six and still had almost enough for cigarettes, but I was afraid to buy one lest I be expelled from the colony. So brought my dad 6 kg of milk, for which he praised me enormously. As I later found out after talking to my father, it was more than he sold in the shop.
I also remember how my friend Zawadzki and I used to chip floors on our knees. A friend's mother hired us, I couldn't walk.
With the benefit of hindsight, I can say that I already had some promising qualities when I was young”.
After leaving university, Andrzej Hass moved into the business field and began his adventure in the shipbuilding and construction industry. Between 1984 and 1991 he became a director of foreign companies operating on the Polish market.
His significant successes include the creation from scratch of one of the largest foreign companies in Poland, a corporation with branches in construction and shipping, employing 1700 people at the time.
In 1991 Andrzej Hass founded the Doraco Construction Corporation - a company that eventually became one of the largest private construction companies in Poland.
For 3 years (1996-1999) Andrzej Hass was also president of ESPEBEPE, at that time one of the largest construction companies listed on the Polish Stock Exchange.
He was hired to save the company from bankruptcy. It had PLN 70 million in losses and PLN 85 million in liabilities to as many as 600 creditors. Andrzej Hass organised a restructuring that became the first conciliation of a listed company in Poland, achieving 75% debt write-off. When he left, ESPEBEPE was recording a 4 million profit.
Andrzej Hass has been proposed by the governor of Gdansk to become the honorary consul of the Republic of Hungary in the West Pomeranian and Gdansk provinces. After his extensive business experience at ESPEBEPE, he was already an established entrepreneur and, thanks to his successes, his name was already on the lists of recognised managers. He was a respected manager who guaranteed high business as well as moral standards.
Andrzej was invited by the Hungarian ambassador to Warsaw for a meeting during which he received permission from the Hungarian Foreign Ministry to become an honorary consul. He accepted the position and held it for several years. The consulate was based in the offices of the Doraco Construction Corporation. Andrzej Hass was primarily involved in activities for Poles of Hungarian origin and Hungarian citizens living in northern Poland.
Thanks to his contacts with some departments of the voivodship office in Gdansk, he found the addresses of several Hungarians living in Poland and invited them to the first meeting at the consulate. He presented the agenda of the meeting with a request to bring with them known Hungarian citizens or Poles of Hungarian origin. This led to a group of thirty-somethings who met monthly at the consulate.
Andrzej Hass began teaching Hungarian to young people, which was very popular. He organised meetings with embassy representatives and held Hungarian national holidays.
His actions ranged from the Hungarian ambassador in Poland to the Hungarian foreign minister, and through him to Viktor Orban, who was then prime minister of the Hungarian Republic. During the meeting of prime ministers of right-wing governments organised in Gdansk by Polish Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek, Andrzej Hass was invited by Prime Minister Orban to a private meeting at the Hanza Hotel in Gdansk. Prime Minister Orban congratulated Andrzej, thanking him for his work with the Hungarian Polish community and stating that he would like most consuls - not just honorary ones - to do as much as Andrzej did in Gdansk. The fifteen-minute audience turned into an hour and a half long meeting.
Doraco offices are still open to Hungarian Poles. The group was active until 2016, meeting once a month. It died a natural death because most of these people reached an age where they either did not feel like it or could not leave the house.
Andrzej Hass was awarded the title "Businessman of the Year" in 1999 and 2000. In later years, he also became the "Businessman of the 25th Anniversary" (for the period 1989 - 2014) in Pomerania and received the "Gentleman of the Year" and "Wektor 2010" awards, granted by the Employers of Poland. In 2022 he received 30-year Business Achievement Award in West Pomerania Region granted by the Business Club Szczecin
Andrzej Hass crowned his 30 years in private business by acquiring in 2002 a majority stake in Euroafrica, a shipping company that was plunged at the time into corporate crisis. Upon undergoing reconstruction and re-structurization, Euroafrica Shipping Lines became the largest private shipping operator in Poland. Today, the company is continually reinforcing its brand and continuing its growth through a multi-year fleet renewal program supported by Hass Family.
The success of the companies he managed led Andrzej Hass to take another significant step on his business path. Hass Holding Limited - a company incorporated under the laws of Cyprus - was established on 17 April 2003. Today, Hass Holding is the parent company for dozens of companies operating in Europe, Africa and Asia. Its entities are involved in various areas of business like: construction, real estate, maritime transport, logistics, hospitality, trade, new technologies and many more.
Andrzej Hass turned a small family business into an international group of companies operating on three continents. Today, the Hass name is a globally recognised brand of Polish business, and the Group's companies are leaders in their fields. The holding company has a total of more than 1,000 employees and achieves more than €200 MLN in sales annually.
Experience, reason, creativity and enthusiasm are at the forefront of the Group's activities, complementing each other to create a synergy of generations linked to the Hass family. Holding is confidently entering the future on the solid foundation of the past. Andrzej Hass's successor in the resurgent new world of international economics is his son, Aleksander Hass. For years, the founder of Holding has been gradually introducing Aleksander to the functioning of the family business.
Despite his young age, Aleksander Hass has gained practical knowledge of the company through his work and commitment, working at different levels of the organisation to learn the specifics and the way of running a family business. He is also helped by the extensive education he received in Luxembourg, at the prestigious Leon Koźmiński Academy in Warsaw and at Columbia University in New York, where he completed his Master's degree. In 2020, Aleksander Hass acquired a significant stake in the Hass Holding Group. As the successor of a family business, his actions uphold the traditions and values of a company that takes great care of its employees in its business activities.
In 2021, Aleksander entered into marriage with Victoria Tereshchenko (now Hass). Victoria graduated top of her class from St. Paul's School, one of the most elite schools in the United States. Later, she earned her bachelor's degree with distinction in "Comparative Literature and Society" and "Financial Economics" from Columbia University. In 2022, Victoria was appointed to the Advisory Board of Directors of Hass Holding.
Aleksander and Victoria initiate and lead tasks aimed at further expansion of the "Hass" brand. Together they are spearheading the development of Hass Ventures, a new division of the Group created to expand the Holding into areas of activities like venture capital and private equity.
"The real success I have had is the respect and friendship of my colleagues. It is people who create success, and I have managed to recruit the best of the best to achieve ambitious goals. For this reason, I am calm about the future of Hass Holding. My son Aleksander shares the same values. So there is a great chance that, after me, he will be the one to implement corporate social responsibility towards Employees and society.
I wish him this with all my heart".