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.