Two out of the three executive parking spaces in front of the Berlin headquarters of Germany’s second-biggest landlord, Deutsche Wohnen, stand empty this morning. The third space is occupied by a cement-gray Maserati Quattroporte. The horsepower-heavy sedan belongs to chief executive Michael Zahn. During an interview, he downplays the significance of his car and its 400-horsepower engine: After all, a 7-series BMW isn’t any cheaper.
Somehow Mr. Zahn’s car of choice cannot help but make one think also of his biggest business competitor, Vonovia chief executive Rolf Buch. He is known to roll up to the office in a tuned-up, S-Class Mercedes. It has a 600-horsepower engine.
But Mr. Zahn is quick to point out a further distinction between his car and Mr. Buch’s: “Horsepower isn’t all that significant for me,” he says, explaining why he chose his car. “I love Italian design.”
The rivalry between the two is highly entertaining. Two alpha males, prima donnas who, with their millions of euros in profits, compete passionately – and, in doing so, bungle each other’s plans.