Urs Gredig sits down with the CEOs and Chairmen of Swiss companies as well as other opinion leaders and policy makers in the country. Business is a topic, but not only: we want to know what makes these people tick! What drives the entrepreneurs, what is their business philosophy and how do they measure and face the challenges of their industry? Who is the person behind the image, the character behind the brand? The tone is fresh but challenging, personal yet authoritative, and always entertaining as we get to know the personalities that make up Switzerland.
Switzerland Tourism CEO: “We need to be loud”
Martin Nydegger has been at the helm of Switzerland Tourism for two years, and though he admits the crowded European market can be quite tough, he says it’s a job he’s always dreamed of. Nydegger addresses the challenge of sustainability and over-tourism and gives insight into the 23 new initiatives that will he says help give the national tourism company a competitive edge in 2020 and beyond.
Christian Jott Jenny: “The world is a stage”
As the recently elected mayor of St. Moritz, Christian Jott Jenny promises to breathe new life into the luxury resort in Graubünden. As a singer, entertainer, and event organizer, he certainly knows how to attract attention. But he still needs to convince his critics.
PwC Switzerland CEO Andreas Staubli: “Trust is one of the key challenges”
Andreas Staubli has been with leading audit and advisory company PwC in Switzerland for 25 years. He talks about the difficulties and leadership challenges that come with fostering change as CEO of PwC Switzerland, particularly as his company undergoes a massive digital transformation.
Special Edition: What do Swiss executives think about the EU?
Since 2014, Switzerland and the European Union have been in talks to formalize relations, which are currently covered by around 120 bilateral accords. However, no institutional framework agreement has been achieved thus far. What do CEOs and business leaders in Switzerland think about the relationship between Brussels and Bern?
FREITAG co-founder Daniel Freitag: “We have leaders but no bosses”
Iconic Swiss brand FREITAG and its founders, brothers Daniel and Markus Freitag, are pioneers in many ways, be it with their commitment to the circular economy or their own special management structure. The company replaced a hierarchical structure with a holacracy, a form of organization based on self-management.
Egon Zehnder Chairwoman: “The world needs more great leadership”
UK-born Jill Ader is the first female leader of world-renowned Swiss executive search firm, Egon Zehnder. She already knows what makes a good executive, but she had to learn for herself that becoming the boss comes with plenty of unforeseen challenges.
IBM Switzerland General Manager: “You need to lead by doing”
Christian Keller has been with U.S. tech giant IBM for almost 25 years, and he’s already at his second stint as general manager for Switzerland. As an IBM executive, he has witnessed first-hand the latest digital transformation and is also aware of the challenges that lie ahead.
Procter & Gamble Europe President Loïc Tassel: “I play to win”
Loïc Tassel’s first job after his studies was at Procter & Gamble, and the Frenchman has been with the consumer goods giant ever since. As president of P&G Europe, he now oversees a CHF 15 billion business with nearly 40,000 employees in 57 countries from his office in Geneva.
From corporate to start-up: The career epiphany of Alisée de Tonnac
Alisée de Tonnac started out as a product manager for a big cosmetics company, but the French-born social entrepreneur soon realized she wanted to do a job with more impact. Today, she is CEO of Seedstars World, an international competition that helps grow start-up ecosystems in emerging markets.
Oswald Grübel, the “benevolent dictator”
As the former CEO of both UBS and Credit Suisse, the German-born banker was one of the most powerful, and toughest, executives in Switzerland for decades. Now, at 75, Oswald Grübel is hardly your average retiree; he’s still very outspoken, like, for instance, when it comes to the recent scandal at Credit Suisse.
“We have a bigger mission with GetYourGuide,” says co-founder Rein
The travel platform GetYourGuide made headlines in May when the Swiss tech unicorn raised CHF 500 million in its latest investor round. But co-founder Tobias Rein says that it is customer value, not money, that drives him. “So many travel experiences still suck,” he says, “and I still believe if we focus on the things we want to do, we can be number one in the world.”
Vontobel CEO: “You have to have a controlled amount of paranoia”
Zeno Staub has been Vontobel’s CEO since 2011 and has experienced the transformation of the Swiss banking system firsthand. Find out in this week’s Executive Talk why he thinks the market has entered a new era and why “Swissness” alone isn’t enough for banks here to survive in the future.
Celebrity chef Anton Mosimann: “We lose customers because of Brexit”
Swiss-born Michelin-starred chef Anton Mosimann moved to London over 40 years ago and has been cooking for his customers—including the British royal family—ever since. He always follows two simple rules: show respect for your staff and enjoy what you do.
Banker Patrick Odier: Stress is the enemy of our business
For more than 220 years, the family of Patrick Odier has been a pillar of Geneva-based private bank Lombard Odier. Having dealt with more than 40 financial crises, the company—and its managing partners—know that thinking long-term is the key to success. And that now includes sustainable finance.
Jos Dijsselhof: The EU doesn’t understand how Switzerland works
SIX is in full transformation mode under the helm of CEO Jos Dijsselhof. He sheds light on the overhaul process: “The hardware is there, but the real impact still has to come.” He also says that the reason the Swiss-EU framework agreement has been unsuccessful thus far is because the EU doesn’t fully understand how Switzerland works.