IR Global Member Spotlight – A family affair: Wolfgang Hohl runs a highly successful financial services firm with a little help from his family

Wolfgang Hohl has been working in the field of auditing, tax consulting, legal advice, insolvency services and business advisory services with Franz Reißner Treuhandgesellschaft mbH for the past 35 years.

Wolfgang Hohl started his career at Franz Reißner Treuhandgesellschat mbH in 1977. A few years later, he completed his exams to become a Tax Consultant and a Public Auditor. In 1980 he became the CEO of Franz Reißner Treuhandgesellschaft mbH. Since then, he has continuously developed Franz Reißner Treuhandgesellschaft mbH and the FRTG Group.

Wolfgang Hohl is a tireless entrepreneur and creative financial services professional who has spent his career breathing new life into distressed companies while giving bankrupt businesspeople the chance to start over.

He is an unashamed workaholic, always takes his laptop on summer and winter breaks (his holiday home is close to Cannes in the South of France) and uses his hobbies as an extension of his business pursuits, including golf and running a fusion restaurant called Karl’s in Dusseldorf.

When Wolfgang first started at FRTG Group in the early 1970s, he could never have imagined that some 50-odd years later he would own the firm, operate as host of other businesses and employ his entire family to help him run those various enterprises.

As another string to his bow, Wolfgang can also boast that he was one of the first financial tax and restructuring experts to cross over to East Germany shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall to help rehabilitate bankrupt state- run businesses.

Student Entrepreneur

“I started at the business full time in 1977 and bought 30% of the shares of FRTG.”, Wolfgang says. “I was not long out of university and had been working there during summer holidays for a few years, so I already knew how things were run. By 1984 I had acquired over 50% of the shares in the company. Later I took over all the other shares as my partner admitted that he was not really a businessman – just an accountant.”

Wolfgang admits his entrepreneurialism seemed to come naturally from the start.

After he took on a full time role, he’d already devised his business model, which was to focus on distressed businesses, analyse back office operations, discover the parts that were worth saving and get to know the business owners. Very often the CEOs would be eager to restructure or start afresh and would need skilled help, something Wolfgang was prepared to give them.

“I’ve always been more like an entrepreneur, taking over businesses, helping them to grow again,” Wolfgang says. “That involves a lot of restructuring work. The business model is to make an intervention plan and work with what I call the living clients (as opposed to the dead ones – metaphorically speaking – who aren’t worth saving). That intervention plan can involve starting the business over again, finding different partners and even helping to look for new clients.

“I’ve always been more like an entrepreneur, taking over businesses, helping them to grow again”

“We rely essentially on the entrepreneurial spirit of the people that we’re getting involved with – even when they are bankrupt. I’d say our business is generally 50% distressed companies and 50% normal tax and accounting work.”

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