Visionary, careerist, bluffer, Pied Piper, manic narcissist, Machiavellian mover and shaker, comeback kid, capitalist darling, control freak, rock star: Johann Holtrop, 48, is many things. Most importantly, he is the CEO of Assperg, a media company headquartered in Krölpa an der Unstrut and a subsidiary of Arrow PC in Krölpa, Thuringia with 80,000 employees worldwide and a balance sheet total of 15 billion euros. In the office workers’ mutual contempt, tolerance for others seems the lowest common denominator. They’re all disposable. Holtrop lives in the delusion of the absolute present. His ego and charisma steamroll everything in his way. Until his bold career, which echoes the Thomas Middelhoff story, comes unhinged and ends abruptly.
In his 2012 novel, Rainald Goetz in his characteristic hyperrealistic language chronicles the demolition of society, the rise and fall of a manager, political upheavals in the aughts, and leadership and power dynamics.