Logitech Europe S.A.
Checking out Logitech's website the night before my planned visit
I come across some disturbing news. Though Logitech, with revenues
this fiscal year of $944 million, is incorporated in Switzerland-company
management resides in Fremont, California. Where I'm going to
tomorrow is only the head office for Europe, Middle East and
Africa. Oh what the heck, I'm dropping by anyway since my laptops
have been using their mice for years.
Ten miles from downtown Lausanne in a light industrial area is
where I find the unusual-looking offices of Logitech. The two-story
half-red structure isn't a bad looking building it's just that
the aluminum façade makes it look, well, industrial. We're
on the very edge of town with the start of picturesque Swiss
farmland just on the other side of the road.
While Nia Karathanassis, the friendly receptionist, is busy finding
out who's my contact person I check out the large glass display
case near the front door. The case is filled with mice. Old mice,
new mice, prototype mice dating back from the 1980's. Did I mention
Logitech is the world's largest maker of mice and trackballs?
The company is also a big player in keyboards, internet video
cameras and interactive gaming controllers (steering devices
for Sony's PlayStation 2). The display case has dates on each
mouse and it's interesting to follow its evolution. However,
all is not well as I see my mouse in the display case with the
date 1999 on it. Jeez, I'm using a dinosaur.
So, my letter of introduction was mailed here to CEO Guerrino
De Luca, got forwarded to Fremont, California and now Stephen
Daverio, Vice President-Retail Sales & Marketing, says they
just received a fax today from Fremont informing them of my pending
arrival. Pretty efficient in a round about way.
The obliging Daverio and I go upstairs to a conference room named
the Museum room where he answers questions. The room should actually
be called the Product Line room because it's full of the company's
wide range of products. Actually, all the other meeting rooms
are named after wines such as the Cognac and Champagne rooms.
Logitech's co-founders started the company in nearby Apples back
in 1981. I cycled through Apples (it's only a few miles from
here) and it's a tiny, tidy farming community with maybe 100
people and several apple orchards.
Built in 1985, the two-story building is company-owned and home
to 170 employees. Research and development people work in a similar
building next door with the difference being smoking isn't allowed
over there. Parking isn't a problem, there's no formal dress
code-though shorts are not allowed. Daverio gives the thumbs-up
as to the quality of the food in the cafeteria and there're no
recreational facilities. It's a 25-minute drive by car to catch
a plane at Geneva Airport.
Company Chairman and Co-founder Daniel Borel keeps an office
here and drops in occasionally, though he now lives in London.
His office is casual and shared with someone else. I would describe
the office décor as IKEA-style without the color.