Markt&Technik: Since you founded Viscom in 1984 with your co-partner Dr. Martin Heuser, you have been the "face" of Viscom in the public. You will now move to the Supervisory Board and withdraw from the operative business. Why?
Volker Pape, Viscom: On the one hand, at the age of 63, I am at an age when you realize that you are exposed to the ravages of time. On the other hand, as a co-founder of the company, I am striving for a succession plan that ensures a smooth transition for everyone involved. Viscom stands for continuity - and we also wanted to ensure this when I moved from the Executive Board to the Supervisory Board. My seat on the Supervisory Board and my shareholder position also allow me to continue to be involved in the strategic orientation and management of Viscom in the future.
How are you doing with this change, which took effect on June 1, 2018? Will you continue to pull the strings in silence or even continue going to the office every day?
I'm doing very well with my decision and this step. I gain valuable time for my "third" great love - after my wife and Viscom: music. And since we have a music studio on the Viscom campus and I have assured my wife that I will not be at home every day, I will also be in the office from time to time. To pull strings: Of course, I will support our new Executive Board in an advisory capacity and will actively participate - but only when I am asked to do so - when it comes to the long-term strategic positioning of the company.
How did employees and customers respond to the change at the top of Viscom?
So far I have only received positive feedback. It was important both for the employees and for our customers: I am still here and I am not selling any shares, for example to asian or american investors. There is no intention of selling the majority of the company, which Dr. Martin Heuser and I hold in equal shares via HPC GmbH. We have both always communicated this and it remains that way.
2017 was another record year for Viscom. So the company's strategy so far seems to be good. Do you nevertheless expect strategic changes under the new management team?
Our newly formed Executive Board represents stability and at the same time the opportunity for change through new ideas and new leaders. We are in a phase of expansion - and in a growing and dynamic market. We are continuing our strategy for success and remain agile in its implementation. In short: I do not expect any strategic changes, and if I do, then for the better...
What goals have the newly formed Supervisory and Management Boards set for the coming years?
The original task is to implement the agreed objectives - it is not a new beginning, but a continuation. This is also reflected by our new Executive Board members Peter Krippner, Chief Operations Officer, and Carsten Salewski, my direct successor in sales, marketing, and international business: Both have been with Viscom for over 25 years and can look back on a successful management career.
Is it - or has it always been - the company's declared philosophy to promote managers from within its own ranks instead of recruiting people from outside?
Indeed, it is Viscom's philosophy to provide for junior potential and to further develop its own employees and to develop them for more responsible expert or management positions. However, this does not rule out the possibility of recruiting new managers and experts from outside the company if necessary.
What were the most important milestones for you since the company was founded? Technically and personally?
The most important milestones for Viscom and for me personally in the company were the decision to focus on the SMT business from the end of the 1980s, the step towards internationalization in the mid-1990s, and the IPO in 2006 - to name just a few of the top events. Privately, the most important and significant event for me was the birth of my daughter in 1988.
Finally: What do you look forward to most when you think about the coming time?
What do you think? To a balanced time in which I can pursue all my passions: my family and also my other child Viscom, which should continue to develop and grow well. My second mainstay is the music business - I now own a well-developed recording studio, a music label, and a music publisher. There are also a few other activities, including honorary ones. After all, I had to promise my wife not to spend the whole day at home in the future…
The interview was conducted by Nicole Wörner, Markt&Technik.