Wednesday, February 01, 2012


One thing I’m just as happy for is that, in my family, there’s no such thing as the family business.

I suppose if there’d been no such thing as Prohibition, and if my grandfather and his brother hadn’t both died young, there might have been one: Rogers Brothers Saloon.

Just as well, I suppose. It’s pretty easy to imagine that, if the three male offspring of the original Rogers Brothers had taken over at some point, my father and his cousin Jim would have made a go of it, only to be undermined by my feckless Uncle Charlie. Charlie was not much one for work, but I’m sure he would have had his hand perpetually in the till. Not the mention that he would have been cadging money off the patrons. (One of Charlie’s favorite shakedown ploys was telling people that my grandmother needed an operation.)

So, I’m just as glad that there was no family business to drive ourselves crazy over.

On the other hand, my husband has some close relatives who were involved in one. At least for a couple of the survivors, the outcome once the patriarchs died – the business was founded by cousins, who owned the majority, but who also had some small investors – wasn’t pretty. (That the business is quite literally in the back yard of one of the forced out survivors makes the whole mess even more embittering.)

Bad enough when the stakes are relatively small.

Just imagine the hoo-hah when the family biz is actually worth a ton.

As it is in the case of the Glock family of Austria, makers of the the gun that shares their name, and which, since Dirty Harry holstered his Smith & Wesson a while back, is the go-to gun for most police forces in the USA.

It happened, as it does so often, when Gaston Glock, inventor of the eponymous handgun, met the woman of his dreams.

Too bad that he’d already been married to his wife Helga for nearly 50 years.

Alas, poor Helga, was just so, so, so yesterday.

And there, at Gaston’s bedside while he recovered from a stroke was his dream girl. I know what you’re thinking. But so what if Kathrin’s 51 years younger than Gaston?

If you don’t believe a much younger woman can be attracted by the vivacity, charm, wit and movie-star good looks of an 82 year old stroke victim without having a clue about what’s in his wallet, well… Just leave it that you have a way too suspicious mind and considerable lack of imagination when it comes to the sheer sex appeal of an 82 year old stroke victim. (You’re probably the kind who thought Anna Nicole Smith married for the money, too. Sheesh. Didn’t you ever hear of romance?)

Things have sure taken a turn for the worst for Helga.

First, she found herself locked out of the family manse. Followed by her being weaseled out of her piece of the Glock empire. And then the Glock children forced out of their management positions at Glock. Capped by the coup de grace: Gaston and Helga’s 2011 divorce.

Gaston, of course, had to fire Helga not just from the boardroom but the bedroom, so that he could marry his beloved.

The happy couple was wed last July.

The unhappy ex has recently filed her suit in hopes of recovering her stake in Glock, and to reestablish some opportunities for her three children to get back in the running of the company.

The suit describes how Helga and her offspring—Brigitte, Gaston Jr., and Robert—spent decades helping expand the family company from a garage metal shop into a global powerhouse. Robert, for example, gave up his ambition to become a lawyer because his father insisted that he work for the gun manufacturer in preparation of running it one day, the suit asserts. By pushing aside Helga and her children, Gaston’s inner circle has undermined the purpose of the family trust, the suit alleges. The Glock children were to “work in the Glock group in leading positions, and the trust’s assets should only be used for the Glock spouses and their joint offspring,” the suit adds.

It does not appear, however, that the new Frau Glock as yet has her finger on the trigger of the Glock firearms company. Instead, she’s somehow manage to get the job as “managing director of the Glock Glock Perfection LogoHorse Performance Center, an equestrian complex in southern Austria.” (If you don’t find any connection between guns and horses, you’ve obviously never watched Bonanza or Gunsmoke. Or seen the movie They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

For the most part, the Glock “kids” have moved on with their careers:

Brigitte has opened a pet store near Vienna… Gaston Jr. has launched a hunting apparel company in the U.S. Robert owns restaurants in Austria.

They are not, however, without sadness and regrets:

“It is not about the money,” [Robert Glock] was quoted as saying [in a 2011 Austrian publication]. “We’re talking about a life’s work, which is now ruined and broken.”


It’s never about the money.

Source: Business Week.

1 comment:

Om Shanti said...

This is very nice writing, I enjoyed.