Normally I visit only parent companies and not subsidiaries but
thought it might be fun visiting a competitor to Belgacom, the
government-owned phone company in Belgium. Mobistar, with 1.1
billion euros in revenues and 1,600 employees is owned by France
Telecom, another government controlled phone company.
I show up at a complex of two four or five-story reflective glass
buildings thinking it's the head office of Mobistar but, learn
it's about a mile away so off I go.
Don't see the company name or logo on the eight-story building
clad in glass though there is a small sign near the sidewalk
with the Mobistar name on it. It's a mixed-use area with office
buildings mixed in with apartment buildings. Entering the building
one has to pass a gauntlet of employees puffing away outside
the entrance. We're not talking about a few smokers as I count
more than 25! The company-owned structure was built in 1996 and
has been occupied by Mobistar for the past four or five years
After explaining myself to the friendly receptionist I take a
seat in the waiting area and plop down on one of the 15 V-shaped,
black chairs. A tall vase of flowers sits on the reception counter.
From my seat it's non-stop action watching the constant stream
of employees slipping outside for a quick smokeit's like
watching druggies getting their fix.
Olivier Lechien, Head of Corporate Communications, is my contact
person and he's a real nice guy. I mention the smokers and Lechien
says there's a designated smoking room but most people prefer
going outside. Between 800-1,000 people work in the building.
Employee parking is free, there's no onsite recreational facilities-though
showers are available, no corporate art collection, no formal
dress code and covered parking for commuting cyclists. Hot food
is served in the company cafeteria, smoking isn't allowed in
offices, it's about four miles to downtown Brussels, four miles
to Brussels airport and 200 meters to the nearest freeway. Any
employee perks? Use of mobile phone (with minutes) is practically
CEO Bernard Moscheni occupies a second floor corner office. I
count two plants (real), a picture of his daughter and note the
computer. What does he see looking out his window? A view of
Company website: www.mobistar.be