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How fitness Pope Kieser braced his successor

Werner Kieser, called the "Fitness guru", maintains a dry sense of humour: "As a young man I never had a lot of money. Now I'm not so poor, but I'm old," says the 78-year-old entrepreneur who has built from Nothing with his wife Gabriela, the Fitness chain Kieser Training.

He has a good laugh. Because he has accomplished what many entrepreneurs fail: is the successor-quiet Elevator. Werner Kieser, his wife Gabriela, and the new Co-owner and business Manager, Michael Antonopoulos receive the Sunday newspaper, in the offices of the fitness chain, in the sixth floor of a modern building next to the Zurich Prime Tower, to tell about the not always smooth handover process. A floor sweating deeper customer at the grey fitness equipment, most of which Werner Kieser has designed.

"The man who grows in resistance", is Kiesers motto. This is also true of the succession process. He dragged on for years.

Kieser Training, a Swiss success story. It all had started in the end of the 1950s, when the 17-year-old Amateur boxer Kieser suffered a thigh strain in Training a pleura contusion. Instead of conserving energy, he made strength training. And was faster on his feet again, as the Doctors had expected. In 1967, the young entrepreneurs opened in Zurich the first Studio of the devices he himself had welded, of iron from a junkyard welded together.

Today, Kieser operates 160 Studios, 23 of which are in Switzerland and 114 in Germany. The chain is focused on health-oriented strength training. The Studios, which are operated in a franchise system, all look the same: gray training equipment, wood floors, train station clocks on the walls. There is no juice bar, no Sauna, no Zumba courses. Nothing should distract from the Training.

In the new Headquarters became aware of due to the offices for the founder

waived By the company, would it have really been a simple solution: Kiesers woman Gabriela is 19 years younger than the founder. The Doctor and rheumatological login has influenced the training programs and worked for more than twenty years in the company. "It was up to her whether she wanted to or not," says Werner Kieser with a shrug. You responded: "I would have been able to make the lead safe for five or ten years, but then we would have stood again in front of the problem of Succession, because we have no children. And there was no one in the family who can run the company would have more."

So Michael came Antonopoulos to the game. The son of a Greek, came in 2004 from the croissant group Hiestand as chief financial officer to Kieser and acts since 2010 as a business leader in the fitness Empire. Previously, Werner Kieser had already worn out two heads. In order to get air from the Godfather, was moved to the Headquarters in 2010 to the hard road, where Werner and Gabriela Kieser do not have offices. "That was important, otherwise I would get a Burn-out," says Antonopoulos.

2013 was the first step for succession: "We have a business plan by an external consultant to create, to have an idea, what is the value of the company has," says Gabriela Kieser. At the time, Michael Antonopoulos bought a share of 10 percent. Encouraged by a friend, the transport operator Nils Planzer had him. "He told me that I had to do it, to put the succession process," says Antonopoulos.

Until the Kiesers separated from your Baby, but passed again in four years. Kieser has, since 2010, any operational responsibility, but still an opinion about everything. "I often had to mediate between the two," says Gabriela Kieser. "And often, Michi and I, we agree that Werner has a point," she adds.

So Werner Kieser had the idea to construct the training equipment on the Basis of modules. Say, from a kind of modular design of different devices should be able to be built. "I've seen that for us, this was a number too big. We have 28 different devices," says Antonopoulos.

In the past year, the Kiesers got off completely. Again a transport company Planzer played a key role. Because of the tennis partner by Michael Antonopoulos funded his friend in the purchase of the company. And a rose, even with the 50 percent. From the operational side of the business at Kieser but he considers himself out of it. "We have negotiated a year-about the price," says Gabriela. "Nils and Michi think you have paid too much, we think we have to get a little. So the price is likely to be the right one," she joked. Werner Kieser falls to her word. "The price I have defined." How high it is, but it betrayed none.

Today, Gabriela Kieser is still a Chairman of the Board, Werner Kieser has served as a consultant. But otherwise you are at Kieser Training completely out. The new owners have to Say, emphasize both.

In the half of the family firms the generation change

fails, it Was hard to let go? Werner Kieser looks to be unmoved by his round black glasses. "Oh, you know, I still have more universes in which I move," he says. "The music, the philosophy and our dogs, from all that I can benefit much more now."

Such a successful company all other deliveries are a matter of course. "In our experience, companies of the generation transition fails in about half of the family," says Dominik von Au from the consulting firm PWC, and a managing Director of the Intes Academy for family business. A common reason is that the assignor is the Patron could not let go. "The need for early planning is very often disregarded," warns of an Au. "A Patron should advises the succession issue, ideally seven to ten years in advance, and also in the family dialog to address," he said.

prominent examples of an unsuccessful change of generation, there are some. Mövenpick such as: gastro-pioneer Ueli Prager could not see how his wife Jutta led the group. After a long power struggle, he sold the majority of shares finally to Industrial August von Finck.

If the Name of the founder, stands at the door, but also, sometimes customers have problems with the Release. You write to Werner Kieser more letters. "I wrote a customer from Berlin, that our concept of standardized Studios," he says. "But he was surprised that we use a different toilet paper." Now this is not the same everywhere.

(Sunday newspaper)

Created: 16.12.2018, 15:58 PM

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