Interview with Hannes Christoph Bächle

19. July 2022

Berlin Office Manager in the External Relations Department of MAHLE

MAHLE is a global corporation. 77,000 employees at 170 production sites, founded in 1920. MAHLE is one of the leading international development partners and suppliers to the automotive industry and a pioneer for the mobility of tomorrow. The Group has maintained an office in the capital since 2017. Address: Satellite Office, Unter den Linden.

What prompted MAHLE to set up an office in the capital?

Hannes Christoph Bächle: “Mahle decided to set up a policy department in 2016. On the one hand, we have grown significantly as a Group, and on the other, federal and European policies make many decisions that directly affect us as a company. We can and want to contribute to this by providing technology-oriented assessments on political issues and being a discussion partner for politicians.

Hannes Christoph Bächle has his office at Satellite Office, Unter den Linden. It is a 2-person office with a small meeting table. How did you come to Satellite Office?
Hannes Christoph Bächle: “At the beginning, I looked for an empty office, but then quickly realized that what was available in Berlin in a central location was expensive and inflexible. A shared office concept makes sense for MAHLE. We looked at a lot of things, but were quickly able to decide on Satellite Office “Unter den Linden”. The walking distance to the Bundestag but also the bright, friendly atmosphere as well as the possibility to book offices and conference rooms spontaneously in addition is very flexible. We have not regretted it, we would do it that way again.

What exactly is Mahle’s business segment?
Hannes Christoph Bächle: “From two-wheelers to passenger cars, commercial vehicles, and ships, you will find MAHLE components for the powertrain and thermal management in vehicles all over the world-in vehicles with combustion engines as well as in electric vehicles. The Group is making a significant contribution to actively shaping the topic of mobility in the future.”

So Mahle is also working on issues relating to future urban mobility?
Hannes Christoph Bächle: “It goes beyond the urban realm, it is the fundamental question of mobility and in particular the reconciliation of individual mobility on the one hand and climate and environmental protection on the other…. For us and the entire automotive industry, these issues represent an enormous challenge. MAHLE has adopted a dual strategy: As a company, we come from the combustion engine with our products. We will continue to develop this technology in the future. The other part of the dual strategy takes care of alternative drives, especially electric driving. MAHLE will continue to pursue both paths consistently. This dual approach strategy also provides the basis for our external contacts. In view of various drive technologies in the passenger car market in the coming years, we are promoting a multi-path climate policy in order to achieve ambitious goals. Climate policy with battery electric vehicles alone will not be sufficient in our firm opinion. In short, binding greenhouse gas regulation is right and understandable, but its fulfillment must be subject to technology neutrality.

What is your role in the Group?
Hannes Christoph Bächle: “I run the Berlin office in the external relations department; other companies call it a group representative office. Since March 2017, we have been working very intensively on establishing contacts here, e.g. with associations. But I also maintain a direct exchange with politicians. Be it members of parliament or ministries that have to do with automotive issues. Conversely, I inform various contacts and experts in the company about current and expected political developments.

How important is the address “Unter den Linden”?
Hannes Christoph Bächle: “The address under the linden trees is a statement that as a company you want to arrive in political Berlin. However, it is customary for a company representative to go to politicians, which is a certain sign. But we have also had the situation where members of parliament have come to us when they are looking for a more in-depth technical exchange. Then I regularly bring in our experts from Stuttgart, so the meeting at Satellite Office in the conference room makes sense.”

Your company is concerned with issues of the future. Satellite Office too. We’re all about mobile working, digitization and the changing demands on workplaces. What is your take on it, may you make a prediction?
Hannes Christoph Bächle: “I would say my work behavior has changed a lot. I enjoy being in my office at Satellite Office, but I am also frequently on business trips. Once a month with political colleagues in Brussels and at corporate headquarters in Stuttgart, appointments throughout Germany. I work on the train or at the airport and I’m happy with that, because I didn’t want to be permanently tied to an office.
I am convinced that the work culture will continue to change, not only for people working in small offices in the capital but also for corporate headquarters. But I make sure that there is time to put away my laptop and cell phone and go out into the countryside.

Do you work at other Satellite Office locations?
Hannes Christoph Bächle: “Not yet, but that was a time problem. The possibility is very positive and with me not forgotten Frankfurt and Munich could be interesting for me.”

Thank you very much for the interesting interview, Mr. Bächle!

The interview was conducted by Annette Kissing for Satellite Office.