Riding around downtown Linz I thought for sure I 'd come across
the headquarters for Oberbank, a regional Austrian bank with
424 million Euros in revenues. And why not? Here was this bulky
low-rise, box-like building fronting the downtown riverfront
surrounded by other banks and insurance companies housed in similar
1980's- style buildings. As I'm locking the bike up outside the
security guard/reception manning the desk inside scurries out
and starts ordering me to move my bike. Though he's speaking
German and I don't, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure
out he's not happy with my having the bike near the building
entrance. I show him the address I'm looking for and find out
it's several blocks away.
Linz doesn't have a very big Altstadt or "old town"
but it does have an impressive main square lined with buildings
hundreds of years old. It's here in HauptPlatz that I find the
four-story head office of Oberbank.
After two unsuccessful visits I finally hook-up on the third
try with Alexandra Furthner from corporate communications. Unfortunately
she's been with the company only a few months and knows very
little about the building. At the end of my visit I'm introduced
to Hermannn Kogler, who's been with the company a long time,
however, Kogler shows little interest in what I'm doing. The
title on Kogler's business card reads "Stv. Leiter des Sekretariats"
but he isn't able to explain what it means in English. My guess
would be company secretary.
This building was "probably" built in the 1700's. The
bank was founded in 1869 so it's assumed Oberbank has been in
this building since its founding. Oberbank has a total of 1,600
employees with 150 of those here.
Senior management get reserved parking spots, it's 15 miles to
the nearest airport (Linz), smoking is allowed in offices and
for lunch employees hike two blocks to the big bulky lakefront
CEO Franz Gasselberger occupies a second floor corner office
with a view of the plaza area. I count two real plants, a desktop
computer and several family pictures. Can't see the boardroom
due to it being in use.