The oldest of all communities: Mareike and Rolf Lechner about their family business immexa

11. November 2021

The oldest of all communities

Mareike and Rolf Lechner about their family business immexa

Mareike und Rolf Lechner vor ihrem Campus „Am Oktogon“ Bild: © WISTA Management GmbH

Mareike and Rolf Lechner in front of their campus “Am Oktogon” © WISTA Management GmbH

Family businesses are among the oldest ways to organise businesses. At over 90 percent, they dominate the German economic landscape and create an enormous economic impact. The advantages of a family-owned business are obvious: it is easier to rely on trust, stability, and loyalty, and to expect a high motivation. Possible disadvantages are said to include problems related to succession, through inner-family conflict, say, and nepotism. How does a renowned Berlin-based family company like immobilien-experten-ag, or immexa for short, meet their everyday demands? We spoke to Mareike and Rolf Lechner, who jointly make up the company’s executive board.
 

Adlershof Journal: In your view, what is the most important issue when running a family business?

Mareike Lechner: It’s the family relationship between the main players. In a family-owned company and its management, it is important to do justice by this relationship. For us, this means ensuring far-reaching consistency between our goals and the development of our multi-year projects. To this end, we as father and daughter discuss our ideas and thoughts—always on a factual level and with the help of our different perspectives and strengths—and form an opinion together.
 

What are the specific advantages of immexa as a family-owned company?

Rolf Lechner: Immexa is a real-estate project development company. Project development is considered the supreme discipline in the real estate industry, because each project is typically unique and there are a variety of disciplines required for it to be a success. Additionally, projects run for several years and involve high investment. Experience, expertise, and commitment are absolutely essential: I myself have been active in real estate project development for more than 50 years and have designed and implemented more than 200 such projects. At the Adlershof Technology Park, for example, we have been developing the OfficeLab Campus “Am Oktogon”—we just had the topping-out ceremony for it—and “Campus-Hochhaus Adlershof”.

My daughter Mareike joined the company after working for nine years at a global auditing and consulting company in 2011, which finally took care of the company succession and ensured continuity. The latter is very important to joint venture partners and banks. Moreover, immexa has an experienced staff and manages a network of external specialists from the construction and real estate industry. In addition, our management board is professional and broad: It consists of my daughter and me as the chairs as well as Klaus Pahl and Karin Stammer as authorised signatories.
 

What do employees appreciate about a family business?

Mareike Lechner: From our own experience: It’s the personal relationships, long-term thinking, and the low level of “internal company politics”. The way we interact feels a bit more human. People that feel at home in a family company typically stay for years or even decades.
 

What are the factors that making working together as a family easier and which make it harder?

Rolf Lechner: In our case, it is definitely the strong basis of trust and the mutual pleasure in having open discussions among equals. Major decisions are only made together but not because we must but because we want to. An honest exchange of experiences across generations is also very rewarding. What we find difficult is when personal abilities and preferences of family members are not taken into account.
 

How you get fresh experiences from the “outside”?

Mareike Lechner: Being family business doesn’t mean that you only interact with other family members. Keeping a watchful eye on the market is essential to us, true to the motto: “The worm has to taste good to the fish, not the fisherman!”

 

Interview by Edith Döhring for Adlershof Journal

 

Related News

Cover Adlershof Journal November/Dezember 2021. Illustration: d. Mahnkopf © WISTA Managment GmbH
Adlershof Journal November/December 2021
We are family: How family ties hold our campus together
Campus-Hotel Adlershof. Bild: immexa
One of Berlin’s Most Exciting Business Locations
Adlershof from the point of view of the property developer immexa