Semperit AG Holding

I'm five miles from Vienna's city center wandering around the block-long MGC complex looking for the offices of Semperit and at the same time wondering what this maker of rubber goods is doing in this wholesale fashion outlet center. This nine-story, green painted complex must have been built over 20-years ago and is looking dated.

Founded in 1824, Semperit until 1986 manufactured car tires. Now, it specializes in rubber medical goods, rubber hoses and sheets, conveyor belts and moulded rubber goods. Revenues in 2001 were 409 million Euros with over 5,200 employees.

Having no luck finding the reception area I walk up the stairwell to another floor. I run into Gerold Voith and ask for assistance. Voith works in Group Controlling and is intrigued with what I do. We find CEO Rainer Zellner's secretary and she's says they never received my letter of introduction sent a month earlier. It no problem here though as nice guy Voith agrees to answer questions and show me around.

Semperit has been renting space here for 20 years, occupying one and a half floors. There's no company cafeteria for the 50 employees though there is a public restaurant in the complex. Smoking is allowed in the workplace, there's plenty of free parking for employees, no corporate art collection and it's a few hundred yards to the nearest freeway.

Everything here is very no-frills and bare bones especially the furnishings. Nothing says it more than CEO Zellner's 7th floor corner office. Looks like it was furnished with furniture from a 1960's Holiday Inn hotel. I note the desktop computer, three real plants and lack of personal items such as photos.