Roberto Balzaretti, State Secretary and head of the Directorate for European Affairs (DEA), gives his first interview since being appointed on February 1. As negotiations on a framework agreement between the European Union and Switzerland are taking place, he tells CNNMoney Switzerland “a specific relationship” between the two powers “should be possible.” However, he recalls the reality of the trade relationship: "For us it’s vital; for the EU it’s a very important one." Balzaretti also discusses Brexit, foreign judges, stock market equivalence, and the role SMEs could play in the discussion.
Despite the rise of robots and AI, the human voice is back in the spotlight, according to Alexey Popov, the founder and CEO of Spitch, the Swiss speech-recognition and voice biometrics start-up. “We have to stop fighting against the voice,” he tells Martina Fuchs on The Newsmaker. “In the recent 10, 15 years, we tried to move the conversation from the natural to the artificial way .... But I believe the peak is reached.”
In an exclusive interview, Fondation Botnar’s first CEO, Stefan Germann, gives CNNMoney Switzerland a first look at its new, more open strategy and urges other Swiss-based foundations to embrace transparency. He also explains its investment plan to reduce health inequalities.
In his 84 years, Octav Botnar had many lives: from a young idealist who was imprisoned to the billionaire founder of Nissan U.K. But when his daughter was killed in a tragic accident, he dedicated his life to help children through a Basel-based foundation that still bears his name.
The Bank for International Settlements in Basel is known as the “bank for central banks” and aims to promote global monetary and financial stability. Martina Fuchs asks BIS General Manager Agustín Carstens if policymakers lived up to their post-crisis duties. “Absolutely,” he says. “It was an unprecedented phenomenon. We have taken the appropriate actions.”
Global demand for coal and oil could peak in 2020. Christoph Frei, secretary general of the World Energy Council, tells Martina Fuchs that this depletion will trigger friction within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). "The cohesion of OPEC has surprised many,” says Frei. “But with peak oil demand on the horizon, tensions within the organization will rise.”
Just this June, Sunrise—one of Switzerland's biggest telecoms—put the first 5G antenna into operation. Olaf Swantee, CEO of Sunrise Communications, tells Martina Fuchs that by 2020, the company will be able to provide 5G services for internet, TV and smartphones. While 5G deployment is underway, the next generation is already taking shape. "Maybe [6G] could be a conversation via phone to Mars," Swantee predicts.
How will our eating habits change moving forward? Christoph Vitzthum, president and CEO at Fazer Group, the Finnish food company, thinks he knows the answer. Speaking to CNNMoney Switzerland’s Amanda Kayne at the headquarters in Helsinki, Vitzthum explains that while plant-based products are the future, consumers will still enjoy the occasional steak.
It’s his mission to make sure the world’s poorest can have access to financial services. But in our Newsmaker interview, Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus says that the concept of microcredit is being misused, and impact investment doesn’t always achieve social good. He also adds that banks are still too geared toward the wealthy. Yunus also believes social businesses need to give all their profits to good causes, otherwise the pressure to satisfy shareholders and investors takes the focus in the wrong direction.
“Swapping people out is the only way to do a complete transformation,” says Risto Siilasmaa, chairman of the board of directors at Nokia. Speaking to CNNMoney Switzerland’s Amanda Kayne at Nokia’s headquarters in Helsinki, Siilasmaa discusses that successful—but painful—transformation the company has gone through since 2012.
The Weizmann Institute of Science is a university based in Israel that has strong ties with Switzerland. Speaking to Hannah Wise, President Daniel Zajfman discusses the Swiss approach to creativity and how it’s based on precision.
Beatrix Morath, managing director at Alix Partners Switzerland, is an expert on food companies. In an interview with CNNMoney Switzerland, she analyzes the latest strategic moves at food giants like Nestlé. In her view, shifting the product portfolio toward healthy products and strengthening the focus on coffee makes sense. She also discusses the Chinese market as one unforeseen big driver behind these developments.
Nearly a year after the Swiss agrochemical company was bought by ChemChina, Hannah Wise speaks to CEO Erik Fyrwald, who explains why the deal hasn’t led to a technology transfer, why the company now has more flexibility to grow, and why Switzerland could be a leader when it comes to sustainable agriculture.
The co-founder of the Zurich Film Festival says she is working hard to once again secure funding from the Federal Office of Culture after this year it pulled its 250,000 CHF contribution. In our Newsmaker interview, Nadja Schildknecht tells us in business she doesn’t take no for an answer, and that good ideas and passion are key to making the event successful.
How close are we to the danger point when it comes to the survival of our planet? “The next 20 to 30 years are crucial,” says World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) chief Marco Lambertini. The director general of WWF International says the biggest threat to the planet is our culture and way of thinking, and that we need to better understand our relationship to the environment before it’s too late.