Family business: The secret of Röchling’s success


The Röchlings belong to the large, traditional entrepreneurial families of the Republic. Its Mannheim-based company, which was founded in 1822, is today one of the leading plastics processors and generates annual sales of around 1.8 billion euros with almost 10,000 employees. But “history and tradition alone are not suitable as a business model,” family head and head of the advisory board Johannes von Salmuth recently told the Handelsblatt. The company had therefore reinvented itself time and again – most recently 15 years ago, when the Röchlings separated from several divisions and concentrated fully on plastics.

Company statutes prevent “tribal thinking

According to von Salmuth, the large circle of around 200 shareholders did not make this any more difficult, but made it easier. He is an “anchor of stability” and has “helped to find reasonable majorities,” says Salmuth. That sounds understandable: If a few large shareholders dominate, the danger of power struggles eventually grows. Moreover, according to von Salmuth, the Röchling company statutes exclude “tribal thinking”, which can be “deadly” in crises. The guardian of this culture is the nine-member advisory board, in which the Röchlings have also appointed external experts such as former Süd-Chemie boss Günter von Au or corporate finance expert Dorothée Deuring. In view of this balance, no single family tribe can seize power in the Council – which suggests that peace will continue to reign.