Krono Holding AG
Switzerland is home an amazing number of large companies that
seemingly go out of their way to stay out of the limelight. Ever
heard of Krono Holding? Me neither. Yet, Krono is Europe's largest
manufacturer of timber materials (chip boards, wood panel board,
laminate flooring) and even has plants in Russia and the USA.
The company's website doesn't divulge much but a trade publication
estimates Krono's revenues at $1 billion, with over 2,500 employees.
The address for the head office leads me to a seven-story, concrete
slab of a building fronting Lucerne's lakefront promenade. Built
in 1980, the building stands next door to the ritzy Palace Hotel,
a five star establishment. I'm told this mostly residential area
contains Lucerne's priciest real estate. The building directory
shows it to be mixed-use (part apartments/part offices). A very
small address label (with the company's name on it) taped to
a mailbox is the only means of knowing one is at the right place.
Up to the fourth floor I go and since there's no designated reception
area I wander around until I'm directed to Sylvia Kvartic, who
identifies herself as "company secretary". I explain
how I called up several times while doing research and was told
Hens Vogel was the managing director, so that's who I mailed
my letter of introduction a month earlier. Matter of fact, during
one phone call I was told his office was in another nearby town
and mailed a letter there also. Kvartic says they never received
the letter and, it turns out, Vogel is only the managing director
of the nearby plant.
Well, Kvartic isn't forthcoming with much information but does
say the company's CEO is Ernst Kaindl and that he hangs his hat
in Salzburg, Austrianot here. I'm sent on my way with a
booklet from a Krono subsidiary. Though it's mostly in German,
there's a few parts in English. The company's roots go back to
1897 when the Kaindl family started a sawmill in Lungoetz, Austriathat
explains why Kaindl lives in Salzburg. There's a small picture
of current CEO Ernst Kaindl and he looks to be about 60 years
old so, I'm guessing he's possibly the grandson of the founder.
Though founded in Austria, I'm also guessing that the company
has its headquarters here for tax purposes.