VA Technolgie AG
up at VA Technologie's headquarters in an industrial park near
the outskirts of Linz, Austria's third largest city, only to
learn that it's merely the company's registered office. Head
honchos such as Erich Becker, Chairman-Management Board (CEO),
works out of the Vienna office. It's lucky for me that I've yet
to pass through Vienna.
I'm now on the outskirts of Vienna and am surprised to find Austria's
largest engineering concern tucked away in a plain, mostly residential
area. VA Technolgie, with revenues of $3.5 billion and 18,000
employees, constructs hydropower plants, supplies electrical
power transmission and distribution systems and, provides drinking
water and wastewater treatment systems. Formerly state-owned,
it's still 24% owned by the Austrian government.
Though it's a big nine-story building built in the 1960's I cycle
past the building twice. Why? It's setback from the street, which
is lined with old somewhat rundown storefront shops and apartments,
making it easy to miss the entryway.
Much of the staff is on vacation but I'm in luck as the delightful
Marion Sensenberger, secretary to CEO Becker, agrees to answer
questions and show me around. It isn't possible to come up with
the number of people working here due to most in the building
working for a company subsidiary. Smoking is allowed in offices,
there's a company cafeteria, management dines in executive dining
rooms, it's 30-minutes by car to Vienna's city center, 10 minutes
to nearest freeway and 45 minutes to Vienna Airport. There's
no formal corporate art collection, no corporate aircraft and
two tennis courts on the grounds.
CEO Becker's corner office on the ninth floor (top floor) contains
a desktop computer, three real plants and 27 tombstones. Why
so many tombstones? He's a former CFO. The view? Not bad, he
can see the grounds of nearby Schoenbrunn Palace; former summer
home of emperors and Austria's most visited tourist attraction.