The story begins with a closed door. When Matthias Drescher finished school and applied for a job at Bechtle, things didn’t really go to plan. But when he found one door shut, he got his foot in another. The start of an exceptional career that reached its latest peak on 10 June 2016—on his 32nd birthday, the former Bechtle trainee takes the helm of Bechtle ÖA direct.
Matthias’ Bechtle journey begins in 2001. It is his brother, a product manager at the IT company, who suggests he apply. Things are happening there, he says. It’s an exciting place to work. A job in IT is right up Matthias’ street, so he applies for a position as a trainee IT consultant. At 17, though, he can’t quite make the cut. He’d have to drive to his customers. He can’t drive.
His contact at the systems integrator in Heilbronn’s Fügerstraße feels they are onto a good thing and offers to pass Matthias’s application on to another department. For an opportunity to become a management assistant in wholesale and foreign trade. This time round, all the pieces fall into place. Bernd Britsch, who today heads Facility Management at Bechtle Platz 1, takes Matthias aboard.
He’s off to a good start—again with the help of his brother, who gives him a lift in the mornings. “I wanted to go into sales. That became quite clear during my first year,” says Matthias, looking back in his BP 1 office. Fast forward 17 years, some might consider his story a business fairy tale. But Matthias composed his own success story with great motivation, ambitious goals and the right amount of encouragement where it was due.
“What really drives me is a zest to make things happen,” he says. Matthias climbs the corporate ladder, with stints as an account manager, team leader, and sales manager. It is around this time when the thought of “managing director” first enters his head. He keeps the pedal to the metal, makes a switch from Bechtle direct to Bechtle ÖA direct, becomes a member of the board, and eventually, in 2016—Managing Director. 15 years in fast motion.
He’s proud of what he has achieved, and especially on how he got there. “I’ve learned the sales business at Bechtle from the bottom up, I’ve done my share of cold-calling and I’ve reeled-in and managed a great variety of customers,” remembers Matthias. His biggest fish? H&M. That’s another thing he’s proud of. He never seems to run out of goals, and he’s always raising the bar. As sales manager, he builds up Bechtle direct’s Account Management, and, later, its Key Account Management. He’s long been on his superiors’ radar.
In late 2014, Bechtle COO Jürgen Schäfer and Bechtle direct Managing Director Mario Düll ask him if he wants to take on overall responsibility for Bechtle ÖA direct. His response? “Bring it on.” He doesn’t hesitate for a second. “I knew I was cut out for this right away,” says Matthias. How come he was so confident? “I know the ropes, I’ve always been sparring with the right people and there was no doubt my superiors have my back. Plus, I was allowed to make mistakes.”
As a member of the board, he has to prove himself. Looking back, he’s particularly fond of the months that followed: “The public sector was uncharted territory for me. It was a very difficult time, but I learned a lot and made great strides in my personal development.” The promotion rolls in on a birthday cake. It is a big surprise, and one that, initially, Matthias has trouble taking in. It takes a few nudges before he’s able to make sense of the letters: “Happy Birthday! Managing Director!”
Now he’s the boss. The big cheese. He has to answer for the money and the people. His employees, many of whom are his senior in terms of age, accept him in his new role right away. This can be attributed to his professional background. And also to the fact that “I believe in what I do, what we do as a company. Absolutely.”
Despite his soaring career, Matthias’ feet are firmly planted on the ground. When he’s invited to take part in the General Management Programme at just 27, he feels honoured. He is like a sponge, he appreciates the exchange of views with his colleagues and superiors and the culture that encourages open feedback.
That is also why he sees leading people as one of his core tasks. “Every employee wants to receive guidance that aligns with their individual needs, strengths and weaknesses. Everyone responds to different things and has a different way of handling criticism,” he says. “As a leader, not seeing the individual is the worst thing you can do. I love to engage with employees, to see their point of view.”
Together with his employees, he continues to pursue ambitious goals. He wants further growth. There’s a new Bechtle direct office in Dortmund, and more sites are to follow. His own career has taught him that great things can be achieved when you tackle them head-on.
The public sector division has great appeal: “The market comes with a plethora of rules that every company has to play by, and still we want to stand out. This is an exciting task, today and in the future.” The future is always in his focus. What technologies will prevail? Where will he lead his company? How will business evolve? As a young trainee, he admits, he did not recognise the value of a vision, a concrete blueprint for the future. Today, as a Managing Director, he believes that Bechtle’s Vision is critical: “It can be a beacon of light, a shared point of reference that we all want to reach.” That’s why his personal goals are tied in with those of Bechtle: “I will always be hungry for more.”