Fabrice Zumbrunnen

Fabrice Zumbrunnen has been Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Migros-Genossenschafts-Bund (MGB) since 2018. He studied economics and social sciences at the University of Neuchâtel and completed a postgraduate degree in statistics. Following his studies, he worked among other as a branch manager at Coop. Later he was employed for 16 years at the Migros Cooperative Neuchâtel-Fribourg, initially as Head of Sales, then as Director of Marketing and Logistics, until in 2005 when he was made General Manager. In 2012 he joined the Board of Directors of MGB as Head of «Human Resources, Cultural and Social Affairs and Leisure».

«Good leadership is not learned, but lived»

How would you define good leadership today?
Good leadership is not learned, but lived. Prerequisite for successful transformational leadership are an interesting vision, a common understanding of the corporate goals and the exemplary commitment of all the executives. This is the only way to inspire and motivate their staff and thus promote their personal responsibility.

The Swiss retail business is facing some major challenges. What is changing, and how do you ensure that the Migros-Genossenschafts-Bund is in a position to tackle them successfully?
Driving structural change in the classic retail business are digital transformation, high pressure on prices, increase in shopping tourism and rapidly changing consumer behaviour. To provide our customers with the best product range easily, conveniently, and at fair prices, we are combining our stationary and digital channels in a smart way. As the largest Swiss retailer and market leader in Swiss online trade, we are ideally positioned for this.

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?
Digitalization creates flat structures, distorts old hierarchies, and demands more non-linear thinking as well as strategic creativity. Future talents will therefore not only be well-educated but will also have high social competence, pronounced self-management and will be able to network very quickly and successfully. Besides highly qualified specialists, we will also need well-trained apprentices.

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?
For good corporate governance, professional and personal qualities are more important than origin. Generally, we, but also many other Swiss companies, profit from qualified immigration, especially in areas where we are confronted with a skills shortage like technology. I personally consider political initiatives to restrict immigration dangerous for the Swiss economy.

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?
Companies with a high degree of diversity have proven to be more likely to achieve above-average success. This correlation is especially pronounced in relation to the proportion of women in management. However, diversity is not only limited to the gender balance on all levels, but includes other criteria such as age, experience, language, and cultural background. Recently, we were the first big retailer in Switzerland to sign the «Advance Diversity Charta» for gender equality and equal opportunity at the workplace. In doing so, Migros has shown that we are committed to a fair and equal approach to recruitment, remuneration, promotion, and employee retention, regardless of gender.