a quiet little town, lies about 20 miles from the Austrian border
and 10 miles from the German border. The address I have for Saurer,
the world's largest manufacturer of textile machines, is Schlossgasse
2. I'm excited about this because "Schloss" in German
means castle and this biker like visiting castles.
I explain who I am and that I sent an introductory letter a month ago to CEO Heinrich Fischer. Seems no one has seen it but, not to worry as Carole Ackermann, Head of Corporate Communications and Investor Relations, ends up giving me a warm welcome.
A long time ago this was one of the company's manufacturing plants and since they still own it they might as well still use it. They've leased part of the place out but it sure likes like a tear down waiting to happen. Though the company had revenues in 1998 of 1.7 billion Swiss Francs and over 8,000 employees, it has a head office staff of only 15. No cafeteria, no art collection and no recreational facilities here. "But what about all those lockers, aren't there showers here? I ask. Ackermann, a runner who joined the company a few months ago, was disappointed herself when you found out there were zilch.
From some of the offices you can see the nearby lake. I tell Ackermann, "I bet your CEO has a lake view". Boy am I wrong. CEO Fischer's small humdrum middle office is sparsely furnished (one lonely looking plant) and has a view of an adjacent building. Matter of fact, Ackermann says she switched offices with her boss (Fischer) and has a view of the castle next door. One thing is for sure here; shareholders don't have to worry about management wasting money on expensive offices and furnishings.
Upon riding off I stop and look at a statue of a man near the castle wall. It's Adolph Saurer (1806-1882), company founder.