Diethelm Keller Holding
Well, I'm glad I didn't have an appointment at Diethelm Keller
because I would have been late for it. Why? I found the seven-story
building easy enough but didn't like the idea of locking my bike
out front since it's too near the street. I saw an enclosed area
in the back of the building containing garbage dumpsters and
several bicycles. I opened the door, wheeled in the bike and
when I tried to exit---found the door locked. Jeez, it's one
of those doors that lets you enter but not exit without a key.
I only had to wait 10 minutes for a passerby.
The building directory doesn't you tell what floor the reception
area is located (turns out there isn't a formal one) so it's
kind of hit or miss as to which of the five floors would take
me to Markus Keller, Vice President. Keller had e-mailed me to
let me know he's my contact person. It only takes asking two
people before connecting with nice guy Keller.
Founded in Zurich, Diethelm Keller is a privately held company
that's old (dating back to the 1800's), good-sized (5.5 billion
Swiss Francs in revenues) employees quite a few (18,000 employees)
and keeps a low profile (the head office building is unmarked).
Until recently Diethelm Keller was known as a trading company
with most of it business in Asia. Its five core business segments
are chemicals, consumer products & logistics, food ingredients,
healthcare and, technology. It would take up too much space listing
the brands the company manages but just to give you a sampling:
Gloster is the world's largest supplier of outdoor furniture
made of plantation teak. Delta is a U.S. manufacturer and marketer
of acrylic paints and related supplies for art, craft and decorating
activities. Diethelm Aviation Singapore is the world's number
two supplier of certified in-flight equipment such as meal charts.
The company has interests in kitchen utensils, household appliances,
eye-care products, aluminum to the construction industry, parking
automation systems and pest control. Whew, that's just a sampling.
Plus, it owns STA Travel, the world's largest travel company
for students and young people.
It's a barebone's staff at this blah-looking early 1970's-style
building. Though the company occupies five floors only 15 work
for the holding company. It's not a splashy address but it's
a prime location with Lake Zurich and Zurich's city center only
a few blocks away. Smoking in offices is optional, there's no
formal dress code but ties are required for men. The building
lacks a cafeteria but employees enjoy free fruit and coffee.
CEO Fassbind occupies a sixth floor corner office. I count two
real plants, one tombstone, a desktop computer and one soccer
ball. The boardroom on the top floor features a table seating
10, real cactus and an outdoor deck.
Diethelm Keller Holding's corporate logo is a red and white fan
tree. Why? Quoting Chairman Andreas Keller, "The fan tree
is not only beautiful, it is strong, sturdy and enjoys a long
life. It bends with the wind but does not yield. The branches
and leaves form a circle, thus embracing the activities of both
the Diethelm and the Edward Keller Group. The colour red reminds
us of our Swiss heritage, and the fan tree connects to our Asian
roots." Diethelm & Co. Ltd. acquired the FAN TREE trademark
in the year 1906.