Ringier AG

With $725 million in revenues and 6,000 employees, Ringier gets to call itself Switzerland's biggest media group with interests in newspapers, magazines and television programs. Switzerland largest daily and Sunday newspaper (Blick and SonntagsBlick) are Ringier-owned. Ditto for Schweizer Illustrierte, a magazine similar to People magazine in the USA. The company has operations in other countries such as Germany, Czech Republic, Vietnam and even China. Founded back in 1831 by Johnann Rudolf Ringier, it's still owned by the Ringier family.

I find the company's six-story head office near Zurich's lakefront and just around the corner from Zurich's opera house. You can see from the accompanying picture there's some kind of construction taking place. A floor by floor remodeling of this 1970's structure has been ongoing.

Generally I've come to expect poor receptions at media companies but it's not the case this time thanks to the charming Prisca Wolfenberger from Ringier's Communications department.

It's hard to say how many people work here due to there being three buildings in the immediate vicinity (including this one) for a total of 1,200 employees. Each department sets it own policy on smoking, parking is very tight with most of it reserved for customers and though there're no recreational facilities showers are available. Everyone eats in the cafeteria with executives having a separate area, it's five minutes to the nearest freeway and a half-hour by car to Zurich Airport. Any employee perks? Free newspapers.

The company's logo is the Ringier name in black lettering preceded by three small rings, one red, one yellow and one blue. The rings look like candy Lifesavers and I assumed they had to do with the "ring" in Ringier's name. Actually, it's the color of the rings that have significance-yellow, blue, red and black are the four primary colors in the printing industry.

There's a very extensive corporate art collection-it's modern and international in scope. You notice this right away in reception/break area with large works of art hanging from the walls. On a lobby coffee table stand six jars of shredded newspapers-the jars are even labeled with whose paper is in it-USA Today, De Telegraph, London Express etc.

Chairman Michael Ringier occupies a third floor corner office. I note the television, laptop computer and his view out the window of Lake Zurich. Lots of art inhabitants his office. My favorite are the words of wisdom, in French, framed in a picture frame, translated by Wolfenberger, it says "The solution exists".

The boardroom features a table seating eight with a toy plywood boat in the table's center. Also on the table sits a bowl of chocolates---more specifically Swiss-made chocolates by Lindt.