Sunday, January 5, 2014

Karelia Tobaccos - A Greek Company?

Typical stereotypes of Greek entrepreneurs are that they are corrupt, that they cheat, that they treat their employees poorly and that, in general, they don't know how to run a business other than for short-term gain.

I just saw this article which reports on Karelia's annual year-end 'feast' and I subsequently looked up the company's website. All I can say is that I am most impressed!

One of the greatest strengths of the Austrian and German economies is their respective 'Mittelstand', small and medium size companies but also companies with sales of several BEUR. What they have in common is: family ownership; family supervision and, oftentimes, family management; focus on sustanstained long-term success and a contempt for short-term financial gain; loyality from employees to owners AND from owners to employees; and many more!

When I browsed Karelia's website, I got the impression that the values expressed there were very similar to the values expressed by successful Mittelstand-companies. Those are the kinds of companies which Greece should promote and which Greece should get to invest in Greece!

PS: in the last 15 years of my career, I have gotten to know probably close to 1.000 Austrian and South German Mittelstand-owners and managements. Many of them were socalled 'hidden champions', i. e. companies with very little publicity but world market leaders in their own line of business. There were many real champions and it is hard to pick the best one. If I had to pick one company as the best, it would be Trumpf AG, a global player owned by the Leibinger-family with outstanding corporate values and excellent management with a long-term orientation.


  1. Well i m sure many "Mittelstand" are ready to invest in Greece? lol
    Probably they would much more practical in resolving issues and bring their culture.


  2. @AnonymousJanuary 5, 2014 at 11:10 PM:

    Sry I do not understand your sentence "Probably..."

    H. Trickler

    PS: Imho today it is much more difficult to start such "Mittelstand" enterprises and Greece is not the most appropriate place for various reasons like political stability etc.

    1. You are right: that word was superflous.

    2. Mistake! The meaning was that people from "Mittelstand" might have better solutions or proposals for Greece than politicians.