Barry Callebaut AG
Zollikon, a wealthy lakefront enclave six miles from Zurich,
is where Barry Callebaut calls home. With revenues of $1.5 billion
and 4,900 employees, Callebaut is the world's largest manufacturer
of high quality cocoa---processing 14% of the global cocoa harvest.
Yep, many of the world's best-known confectioneries buy their
chocolate from Barry Callebaut. No there wasn't someone name
Barry Callebaut, it's the result of a merger in 1996 between
French company Cacao Barry and Belgian chocolate producer Callebaut.
The three-story head office building sits amidst quiet and prime
residential housing a mile from the lake. Though newly built
in 2000, it's a low-key affair except for a small company sign
near the top of the structure.
My visit is great, thanks to the warm and enthusiastic reception
given by Thamara Cronin, Executive and Personal Assistant, and
Erika Bolt, Secretary/Logistics. It's a very decentralized company
as you can tell by the fact there's a total of only 11 people
here. Thanks to the underground parking garage parking isn't
a problem. Smoking is allowed in offices, there's no cafeteria
but a nice break room and a small patio. It's 15 minutes by bus
to Zurich's city center, 40 minutes to Zurich Airport and 10
minutes to the nearest freeway. The company's logo is the name
"Barry Callebaut" in white lettering with a red background
AND, with a cocoa bean stuck between the name.
Any employee perks? Free soda, coffee and chocolate. Boy, do
they have the chocolate. Cronin and Bolt place this huge bowl
in front of me filled with a potpourri of Barry Callebaut chocolate
products. Jeez, I don't want to try one because I'm one of those
that can't stop at one. Oh, oh, these liquor-filled chocolates
are good. I end up taking two handfuls.
Since Cronin is Executive Assistant to Chairman Andreas Schmid
it's no problem having a look in his second floor corner office.
The walls are white, wood floor brown and furniture black. I
count five family photos and don't see a computer. The view?
The grounds and apartment building next door
CEO Patrick De Maeseneire hangs his hat a few doors down from
Schmid. The boardroom is located on the top floor but unfortunately
it's occupied. As I'm leaving the two women continue to try and
weigh me down with more chocolate but I haven't any room on my
bike. Riding off I wave good-bye instead of saying it due to
my mouth being filled with chocolate.