«The expertise we require cannot be found in Switzerland alone»
How would you define good leadership today?
For me, a good leader has the ability to motivate and inspire employees, to convey a sense of purpose, to create the scope for development and to do all this in the context of meeting the needs of customers and other stakeholders. In this day and age, a company needs the ability to change and a great deal of agility. It’s the job of the manager to live it, to expect it but also to support it.
Over half (69%) of the CEOs of the largest Swiss employers had already been in the company’s employ before taking their posts. You too have spent your entire career at Georg Fischer. What advice do you give your junior staff regarding their career plans?
To be prepared to make decisions but also to be open to new challenges, to use opportunities to get to know different cultures, ideally combined with a longer stay abroad. This shapes people and increases their social competence.
Digitalization is advancing fast. The pressure on costs and efficiency is on the rise for companies. What specific profiles are you recruiting because of this trend and at what level do you employ them?
Many companies are on the lookout for digitalization and innovation specialists – as are we at GF. We consider ourselves lucky to have found many good talents and managers. We employ them at all hierarchy levels. Innovation is a key element of corporate development at GF and has been for over 200 years. Modern processes and methods are executed and used by university graduates as well as experienced specialists in the respective fields.
The share of foreigners on executive boards of Swiss companies is 44%. In your opinion, how important is immigration for Swiss companies in general and your company in particular?
Switzerland has the advantage of being able to offer attractive employment conditions for highly qualified people from abroad. This is extremely important. Because the know-how and expertise that we require at GF cannot be found in Switzerland alone. And for a global company, knowledge and experience from other markets and cultures is indispensable.
How much importance do you attach to gender diversity in your company, and which measures have you taken to increase the proportion of women on your management boards?
Qualifications are decisive when considering someone to fill a vacancy. To enhance our attractiveness as an employer, GF extended maternity and paternity leave beyond the legal requirements some time ago. Both flexible working hours and the option of working from home are additional means of creating an attractive workplace. We realize, however, that this alone is not enough. When we need to fill a managerial position, we always expect to short-list a woman. GF is a traditional company that has long had what is considered an above-average share of women on the supervisory board of an industrial company. GF also promotes round-table discussions with the supervisory board, the corporate executive board, and female managers in order to become more aware of needs, to introduce changes and to intensify networking.