“The Company is somewhat like a family”

LEONI turning 100: Contemporary witness Ernst Thoma (82), former President & CEO, in a video on the topic of “tradition”

Nuremberg – What distinguishes a company that’s 100 years old? At Leoni, the five topics of tradition, quality, staff, innovation and globalisation are of key significance. Yet what does the Company associate with these topics? Five people gave their very personal answers before a running camera: These contemporary witnesses – all of them former or current employees – each report subjectively on their recollections, experience and assessments concerning one particular topic. Ernst Thoma, President & CEO of Leoni AG from 1978 to 2002 and one of the most defining figures in the Company’s history, dealt with the aspect of tradition. The video with his testimony is accessible from today on our website at 100.leoni.com as well as several social media channels.

“Given that the companies in Mühlhof and Roth had existed for centuries, our fathers and grandfathers or mothers already worked at Leoni,” Thoma says in recalling the time when he joined the Company in 1962 as a management assistant. “The people have a very special attitude and loyalty to the Company. For them Leoni is somewhat like a family.” 

His personal credo that he pursued and exemplified as a manager and long-standing chief executive of Leoni was: always be local. “I was often among the people and watched how they do it; whether there were ways to improve,” Thoma says in looking back. Apart from numerous conversations, he therefore also still remembers the reaction of staff when, due to the pressure on prices, some production was relocated to Tunisia: “Of course that caused much and understandable annoyance among the workforce in Kitzingen. Yet we had no other choice, after all, because no-one paid us the prices charged in the past anymore.”

The customer was always the focal point of Ernst Thoma's endeavours. Why? “With the customer we can grow our business. The customer gives us work and pays us in the end.”

Preview: the second contemporary witness video follows in April. Siham Touriz, who heads the quality management of Leoni’s Wiring Systems Division in Morocco, describes how quality means more to her than just a faultless product.

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