Generali Holding Vienna AG

What am I doing visiting Generali Holding Vienna AG when its 90% owned by the big Italian insurer Assicurazional Generali? Three reasons: (1). It's big, $2.7 billion in revenues (2). it's listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange and (3). it'll probably occupy a prime historic building in Vienna's marvelous Altstadt (old town) city center.

Trying to find one's way around in Vienna's large old town area can be a trying experience even with a map because streets are short, dead end and one-way.

Two receptionists man the desk as I enter the eight-story building located around the corner from Stephanplatz, the plaza where Vienna's magnificent cathedral resides. Here I am in a neighborhood lined with buildings hundreds of years old and Generali has to go and put up a modern structure. Built in 1990, it's a good-looking building.

They can't seem to find my letter of introduction sent a month earlier to Dietrich Karner, Chairman-Board of Management. But that isn't a problem here as I'm given a warm welcome and tour of the place thanks to Wolfgang Steinwendner, Director of Marketing Services, and two of his assistants.

Several other buildings in the immediate area also house Generali personnel so; adding them in it's estimated 500 people work in the head office. There's a company cafeteria, executive dining rooms, smoking is allowed in offices and parking is extremely scarce in the old town area with senior management getting parking spots. It's 10 minutes to the nearest freeway, 20 minutes to Vienna Airport and there's no formal dress code. Any employee perks? Discounts in shops Generali does business with and of course discounts on company insurance products. Generali is well known for its extensive corporate art collection. The works are primarily modern and international in scope.

Any good corporate trivia? Well, it's not very often I come across a public museum under a corporate headquarters but that's what we have here. This building sits atop Roman ruins.

CEO Karner occupies a corner office. I make note of the fresh roses, laptop computer and the antique work desk.