The official event on 4 April 2019 at the company headquarters in Mannheim was the highlight of PHOENIX group’s twenty-fifth anniversary celebration. In the previous week, the focus was on the employees, with a birthday song, a Europe-wide photo contest, and sweet treats to mark the occasion.
PHOENIX has been celebrating. With customers and suppliers. With the company’s shareholder family and with management. With former colleagues, journalists, and celebrities. And with its employees. “The fact that we have been able to achieve this type of development in 25 years – that Europe’s leading integrated healthcare provider originated from four regional pharmaceutical wholesalers – was not a foregone conclusion,” says Oliver Windholz, Chief Executive Officer of the PHOENIX group. “We owe this to our customers and business partners, with whom we have enjoyed an excellent working relationship over the years. And we would particularly like to thank our employees, because they make PHOENIX what it is today, every day.”
A birthday cake was presented as a sweet thank you for the employees: each day for one week, for all employees at PHOENIX’s locations in Germany. But what would a birthday be without singing Happy Birthday? That is why the anniversary activities for the employees also included a specially produced birthday song – written and recorded by a team from PHOENIX. Thirty music-loving employees spent a day at the Popakademie Baden-Württemberg’s studio in Mannheim, where they recorded the song under professional guidance. Not only did this grant an exciting insight into the music business to the singers, but above all they experienced team spirit in a unique way.
This was also the focus of the Europe-wide photo contest “We are PHOENIX – all over Europe”. All employees were invited to work with their colleagues to take a photograph relating to the company and the anniversary. Overall, 123 teams of photographers from 21 countries participated in the competition, making it hard for the jury to select the top three images. Colleagues from Serbia took first place, followed by employees from Romania in second place, and from Sweden in third place. The audience prize went to employees from the Netherlands. They received the most votes by far in an online poll. The winners were awarded cash prizes between €1,000 and €3,000. These were not for the teams personally, however, but were to be donated to charitable organisations in the winning teams’ regions, with the teams deciding on the recipients themselves. The photographers of the three best pictures were rewarded with a trip to Mannheim for the anniversary event – the highlight of the company’s twenty-fifth birthday celebrations.
Around 250 invited guests attended the gala evening at the company’s headquarters on 4 April 2019, and among them was also Ludwig Merckle. The entrepreneur and shareholder of the PHOENIX group exemplifies the philosophy and values of the company like no one else: integrity, diligence, reliability, and a fair approach towards others are fundamental aspects of the way Merckle operates and competitive advantages when it comes to customers and employees.“ As a family business, we can afford not only to think entrepreneurially in the short term, but also consider the long term, without hurrying from one quarterly balance sheet to the next,” said Merckle. And it should remain this way for the next 25 years.
The event was also attended by the First Deputy Mayor of Mannheim Christian Specht and the two predecessors of the current CEO Oliver Windholz: Dr Bernd Scheifele built up and expanded the company together with its founder Adolf Merckle and still plays an active role in its development as Chairman of the Supervisory Board. And Reimund Pohl, who guided PHOENIX safely through the difficult years of the economic crisis in 2008 and 2009.
In the past 25 years, PHOENIX has undergone development that could hardly have been any more rapid and successful. The company’s fast growth was largely due to acquisitions – in 27 countries across Europe. It expanded internationally and successfully turned from a pharmaceutical wholesaler into an integrated healthcare provider. Over the years, PHOENIX has dedicated itself to a demanding task: people’s health. For quite some time, the company has grown faster than the market, “and we believe the future prospects for the PHOENIX group remain positive, as we have an excellent positioning,” sums up Windholz.