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
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.