Blog: MAN/Scania – let’s argue about where the combined HQ would be
Dave Leggett | 20 February 2007
There's nothing like a good row over something hypothetical. I guess the politics in the MAN/Scania situation has been pretty fiesty at times (eg Lief Ostling's 'blitzkrieg' remark), so a row over the location of an HQ for a company several major hurdles from formation may not be all that unusual after all.
Any large corporation’s HQ is a very, very symbolic thing. You get to the essence of what a company is about when you visit its headquarters. There’s that sense of place in the world, purpose, history, prevailing corporate culture and something almost intangible – a feeling, a heartbeat almost. If two firms come together, it gets very political. Where is the centre of power?
MAN and Scania are supposed to be in a cooling off period after the ruffles and kerfuffles caused by MAN’s takeover attempt. Will they cool off and come together eventually? Maybe. But if they do, the infighting could still continue for a while. And the decision on where the new HQ is to be located could be an early battleground.
Perhaps they should go for a nice big building in low-tax and neutral Switzerland. I understand that Switzerland has lately been successfully attracting a number of European firms out of places like Brussels. And if the future European truck giant is based in Zurich, well, they speak German there don’t they?
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