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.