The Executive Talk

Our Editor-in-Chief 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.
The Executive TalkThe Executive TalkThe Executive Talk

Urs Gredig
So when exactly will you leave the Federal Council, Mrs. Leuthard?
As the political career of Doris Leuthard slowly draws to a close, we ask the popular member of the Swiss government what she loves—and doesn’t love—about her demanding job, and what she plans to do when she eventually leaves the Federal Council.
Urs Gredig
Caran d’Ache president: “We are a love brand”
Carole Hübscher, chairwoman of Caran d’Ache, the famed-manufacturer of luxury writing instruments, discusses how to profit from disruption, why maintaining Swiss character remains a challenge, and whether working in a family business adds additional pressure.
Urs Gredig
Alexis Nasard: What Lady Gaga taught the Bata CEO about leadership
According to Guinness World Records, no other shoe company has sold as many products as Swiss-based retailer Bata. However, the brand suffers from a coolness deficit, admits CEO Alexis Nasard. In this week’s Executive Talk, the Lebanese-born manager tells Urs Gredig how he plans to make the Bata product portfolio trendier. Nasard also reveals why he looks to Lady Gaga, Pope Francis, and Emmanuel Macron for inspiration and shares how growing up in a war-torn country has marked him personally and professionally.
Urs Gredig
The woman who’s committed to curing Alzheimer’s disease
Andrea Pfeifer is a woman on a mission. The CEO of the Lausanne-based, Nasdaq-listed Swiss biopharmaceutical AC Immune is determined to find breakthrough therapies for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Pfeifer—who as head of Nestlé’s Global Research managed a group of more than 600 people—took a risk in taking charge of a then unknown start-up. “I was going back to square zero,” she says, “with no business plan and no guarantee for success.” In this week’s Executive Talk, she tells Editor in Chief Urs Gredig about her leadership principles, her values, and what people like Nelson Mandela and Steve Jobs have taught her about being a good boss.
Urs Gredig
Jean-François Manzoni: The IMD president who teaches executives how to become leaders
As president of the world-renowned business school IMD in Lausanne, Jean-François Manzoni knows a thing or two about leadership. In fact, he teaches executives how to face the various challenges of heading a company. So what qualities make for a good business leader? And can anyone learn to become a CEO? That, among other things, is what CNNMoney Switzerland’s Editor in Chief Urs Gredig asked the Canadian-French academic in his wide-ranging Executive Talk this week.
Urs Gredig
Why the youngest three-star chef in Europe never gets tired
He is not only one of the best chefs in the world but also a successful business man. Andreas Caminada holds three Michelin stars, 19 Gault Millau points, and his restaurant in a tiny village in Graubünden is regularly ranked among the top 50 in the world. But he’s a brand, too, and he knows how to sell his persona as much as his culinary creations. In an interview with Editor in Chief Urs Gredig, the youngest three-star chef in Europe talks about his business sense, why he considers pressure a good thing, and how despite his laid-back image he can still get loud in the kitchen.
Urs Gredig
EPFL President Martin Vetterli: “Switzerland could use a more vibrant venture capital scene”
As a world renown expert in electrical engineering, computer sciences and applied mathematics, Martin Vetterli is a star in Swiss academic circles. And as president of the EPFL in Lausanne, he is also the head of an institution that ranks among the world’s best universities. In this interview with Urs Gredig, he tells us whether he thinks Switzerland has lost ground on innovation and how growing up without a television has made him a better scientist.
Urs Gredig
Power of big tech companies can be a risk, says Microsoft Switzerland CEO
Marianne Janik, CEO of Microsoft Switzerland, is at the forefront of digital transformation. Working for the tech giant has taught her about the huge potential of digitalization, but it has also made her aware that with big data comes big responsibility. Find out how Janik is fighting to break through the glass ceiling and why she sometimes prefers a good old-fashioned pen and paper to a computer or a tablet.
Urs Gredig
"Never be afraid to take tough decisions," says Philip Morris CEO André Calantzopoulos
To head a tobacco company today is to come under constant scrutiny. André Calantzopoulos, CEO of Philip Morris International, knows all about it. He's been at PMI for over 30 years and has seen the firm transition into a high-tech venture that is now committed to a self proclaimed smoke-free future with a long-term plan of eliminating conventional cigarettes. Find out how the Greek-born manager leads his 80,000 employees and why he likes being challenged regularly in this week's Executive Talk with Editor in Chief Urs Gredig.
Urs Gredig
It's time for women quotas, says Nathalie Seiler, general manager of the Beau-Rivage Palace in Lausanne
Imagine being the boss of a company where you once started as an intern. Nathalie Seiler has achieved exactly that. Seiler—the general manager of the Beau-Rivage Palace, the five-star hotel in Lausanne—leads a team of 400 employees, and despite having just been awarded Swiss hotelier of the year, she is convinced that working successfully in the hospitality business is not a one woman show but always a team sport. In this week's Executive Talk, she tells our Editor in Chief Urs Gredig why dealing with hotel guests is her true conviction and how having had bad bosses in her career has made her a better executive.
Urs Gredig
Lionel Schlessinger: The man who paints Apple
Lionel Schlessinger is an unusual boss. As CEO of the family-run industrial paint company Monopol Colors, he lets his team climb mountains and makes bets with customers that he can deliver faster than they think. An unconventional yet successful approach: A paint developed especially for Apple, for example, is now gracing the tech giant's new headquarters in Silicon Valley. In this week's Executive Talk, Lionel Schlessinger tells editor-in-chief Urs Gredig how becoming CEO at age 26 has shaped his management style and why challenging old habits has helped his company to grow despite some difficult moments.
Urs Gredig
Former FIFA President Joseph "Sepp" Blatter: "I'm still around and FIFA doesn't like it!"
What is it like to be kicked out of an executive position, to lose almost all your friends, and to be vilified by so many? Joseph "Sepp" Blatter knows all about it. For almost two decades as president of FIFA, football's world governing body, Blatter not only rubbed shoulders with the rich and powerful, he also headed a highly lucrative business, one that racked up USD 2 billion in revenue per year. Suspended after being accused of wrongdoing, he is currently serving a six-year ban from participating in FIFA activities. In this week's Executive Talk with Editor in Chief Urs Gredig, the 82-year-old Blatter speaks about the mistakes he made, how much he's suffered from the allegations, and why being born prematurely has helped him become a lifelong fighter.
Urs Gredig
"We live in a golden age for women," says investment expert Mirjam Staub-Bisang
Breaking the glass ceiling has not been an issue for Mirjam Staub-Bisang. The CEO of Independent Capital Group and Chairman of Profond Pension Plan thinks that times for women in business have never been better. In this week's Executive Talk, she tells Editor-in-Chief Urs Gredig how she manages her work-life balance, why she thinks promotions are better investments than paying out big bonuses, and how raising girls and boys taught her a lot about gendered behavior in the workplace.
Urs Gredig
Salt CEO Schönenberger: "I understand people's concern with data issues"
When it comes to digitization in Switzerland, Andreas Schönenberger has been a pioneer in the field. The former country manager of Google Switzerland has been a trailblazer in implementing new technologies in the Swiss business world. Today he's the CEO of the telecommunication provider Salt, and he's this week's guest on The Executive Talk. In an interview with Editor in Chief Urs Gredig, he talks about how competitive the Swiss telecom market really is and why having a PhD in physics helps him cope with frustration in his everyday life as a chief executive.
Urs Gredig
MPS CEO Nicola Thibaudeau: "I'm a good boss!"
She is one of the best-known businesswomen in French-speaking Switzerland and is at the forefront of Swiss innovation. Nicola Thibaudeau has been called a true force of nature and is certainly not your typical executive. Born in Canada, she grew up with ten siblings and always had big dreams – many of which have become reality, for example getting a pilot license or climbing some of the highest mountains. As CEO of the successful micromechanical company MPS, she keeps growing the business. In this week's Executive Talk, she tells our editor-in-chief Urs Gredig how she motivates her employees and why she does not like the idea of quotas for women.

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor’s and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.

© 2018 CNN Money Switzerland SA. All Rights Reserved.Terms under which this service is provided to you.

Privacy Policy

By continuing to use this website, you are agreeing with the Privacy Policy, the Terms of Use and the use of cookies meant to personalize your experience, provide you with more relevant advertising and improve our services.