Andre Wyss

André Wyss has been CEO of Implenia since 2018. Prior to that, as President of Novartis Operations and a member of the Group Executive Board, he was responsible for global production, central Group services such as real estate and infrastructure, IT, procurement, human resources and accounting, and corporate affairs. He was also Country President of Novartis Switzerland. After completing an apprenticeship as a chemical technician at Sandoz and studying economics at the Höhere Wirtschafts- und Verwaltungsschule (HWV), he held various management positions at Novartis, including President of Novartis USA and Managing Director of other country and regional companies. In parallel, he completed various executive education modules at Harvard Business School.

«Implemented in an integrated way, digitalisation becomes a driver of value creation»

What trends do you see in how corporate management is evolving?
Using Implenia as an example: in order to manage large, complex real estate and infrastructure projects internationally, it is becoming increasingly important to work in partnership with customers and many other stakeholders. In terms of management, this means setting challenging, fair goals, being a role model, acting as a coach and facilitating various forms of teamwork. Trust and appreciation promote independent, entrepreneurial action.

How do you approach the trends of automation, digitalisation and working worlds of the future? 
We optimise our projects with new, digital methods in development, planning and realisation. Digital Lean Construction and BIM (Building Information Modelling) play an important role: planning and control of execution are increasingly data-based. This allows us to work more efficiently, effectively and sustainably. Artificial intelligence and robotics applications are being used more and more and help to automate repetitive tasks, for example. We are also constantly planning and building new, modern working environments for our customers. At our “Implenia Connect” headquarters, we work in an agile, flexible working environment that optimally supports our collaboration internally, but also with customers and partners. 

How do you ensure that technology/digitalisation does not remain an expert topic, but is anchored in the company’s value creation?
By implementing digitalisation in an integrated way in the operating divisions. Digitalisation thus becomes a driver of value creation. The construction and real estate sector has not been at the forefront of this for a long time. We are rapidly catching up and, as Implenia, are shaping how development, planning and construction will be carried out in the future. Thanks to Digital Lean Construction, BIM and now also Integrated Project Delivery, we are building for and with our customers in a more collaborative, precise, faster and more cost-effective way.

In the course of demographic development, more managers will soon retire than will succeed them. How do you deal with the impending shortage of staff in your company?
At Implenia, young, committed professionals can quickly take on responsibility, contribute their ideas to innovative projects and learn from experienced colleagues. We invest in our talents of different ages with targeted specialist and management training and maintain a very open and collaborative corporate culture.

The construction industry is traditionally considered male-dominated. What is the situation like with women in management?
A quarter of our executive board members are women, and one of our four divisions is headed by a woman. As a construction services provider, we are active in a variety of professional fields – among others, we employ female crane operators, tunnel boring machine pilots, architects or lawyers. With our large, complex projects and good development opportunities, we are attracting more and more outstanding female colleagues from different professions who are making a career with us. In addition, we offer flexible working models wherever possible, which allow young parents – fathers as well as mothers – to better reconcile work and family life.

What should the economy, politics and society do to strengthen the compatibility of work and family in Switzerland?
Flexible working time models and childcare places are a prerequisite for reconciling work and family life. Economically and due to the shortage of skilled workers, it is important that young, well-trained employees remain involved in working life during the family phase.

What messages do you have for your top talents regarding their career planning? How do you convey these messages in everyday life?
Young talents should follow their passion and do what they burn for – that brings success and fun at work. If you are aiming for a management position, it is important to gain experience in different areas, teams and countries. I like to pass on these messages specifically in personal conversations. I am also always a coach for my direct reports or at training sessions for our managers.

We increasingly see that CEOs also hold external board mandates. How do you assess this?
In principle, it makes sense for CEOs to make their skills and experience available to other companies in the context of board mandates. They expand their network and receive new impulses for their leadership work.