ECE Retail Newsletter, December 2017

„Leasing meeting in flip-flops“

In an Interview, Managing Director Leasing Klaus Striebich talks about crazy meetings with customers, clunky cell phones, and the future of retail.

After 25 years at ECE, you hand over the Managing Director’s reins to your successor. Would you dare a look back at your career with ECE so far?

I fear I might just have to write a book. It’s almost impossible to sum up this time in a few sentences, as there have been so many wonderful experiences, stories, successes and developments.

Now you made us curious. Can you share a few anecdotes with us?

When I was a young Leasing Manager, I had a meeting with my Head of Department about how we could make things better, faster, and more efficient. The first cellphones were already around by this time, although they were very expensive and clunky. So we wondered whether it might be a good idea to get cellphones, as we were on the road a lot and looking for telephone booths could be a tedious process. The response from our boss was: “Our young Leasing Managers should first learn how to lease properly before they worry about status symbols like that!” Nevertheless, second-generation cellphones were acquired only two years later.

Were there crazy moments, too?

The strangest meeting was with the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch at the time, Mike Jeffries. It was mid-November, it had snowed and it was cold. They showed up in ripped jeans, T-shirts, shirts, and the famous flip-flops – without socks, of course – from their private jet, and walked with me through car parks covered in deep snow.

In your view, what was your best moment at ECE?

The best moment was undoubtedly the first direct lease agreement with Media-Saturn for LEO-Center in Leonberg at that time. This has now become probably ECE’s biggest tenant partnership.

Has the leasing business changed a lot in the past 25 years?

A lot of things are different today. Not just in terms of technology, but also in communication and sales. Decision-making and persuasion processes have become a lot more complex and strenuous everywhere. Previously, we were used to a landlord market, while we’ve now been living in a clear tenant market for the last few years. Lifecycles have also become a lot shorter and the demand for innovation has grown significantly.

Now, how about a bold prediction: how will the retail industry look in 25 years?

Let’s use the Delphi method to look at this… At least 50% of the brands and names we now know will not be around then. Trade will have less and less to do with keeping goods in stock, and will have to turn increasingly towards local production based on individual needs. Retail spaces are meeting points for specific types of communities, and there will be products and services that we can only dream about today. Perhaps there will no longer be any walls, and technology will certainly play an important role. It’s going to be exciting in any case.

What are your personal goals for the future?

Less work, more time for family and my hobbies. In terms of career, I would like to reduce my working time from 240 days at present to 100 days. I will be working as an independent consultant in retail and real estate, and I already have my first client: ECE! Somehow, you never really leave...

Klaus Striebich will retire from his post as Managing Director Leasing at ECE for personal reasons at the end of 2017. He will be succeeded by Steffen Friedlein who has been responsible for the leasing of the centers in Germany as Senior Director Germany until now.