He lets his children compete for the company’s succession in a high-profile way, demonizes entrepreneurs who produce abroad, and now this: In 2022, the Trigema boss will be working entirely without a computer. The digital business magazine Business Insider accompanied him through his daily office routine.
Butlers and thatched-roof homes in Swabia, tailored suits and company helicopters – the lifestyle that Wolfgang Grupp likes to present to media representatives is a topic of conversation. But his succession plan is even more controversial. When asked by DIE ZEIT whether Bonita or Wolfgang Jr. would take over, the 80-year-old replied that it would be his children’s choice of partner that would be the deciding factor.
Old-fashioned? Out of time? Who is Wolfgang Grupp?
The man to whom we owe the commercial with the chimpanzee at prime time before the daytime news has been running the textile manufacturer Trigema in Burladingen, Swabia, since 1969. The company employs about 1,200 people and produces exclusively in Germany. He guarantees the children of his employees an apprenticeship. Solidarity and justice, not power and market share, Grupp finds.
Lists, folders and employees who note down every decision
Grupp does not use a computer. His cell phone is also switched off in the cupboard when he is in the company. Instead, he uses the telephone and intercom. His day begins before nine o’clock in an open-plan office that he shares with his children, his wife and other employees. E-mails are printed out for him, collected in a gray folder. He dictates the responses to his co-worker. Dispol lists pile up on his desk. Together with his wife and his production manager, the company boss discusses the upcoming collection. The ladies note down every decision: Which product will stay, which will be discarded. On the other side of the desk, Grupp goes through his lists with a ballpoint pen. After 4 p.m., the boss no longer attends appointments. He prefers to take a tour of his company and check up on his pilot, the warehouse and the shipping department.