schillingreport 2020

Editorial

When we first studied the composition of management boards of the 100 largest companies in Switzerland 15 years ago, only a few of them had gender diversity on their agendas. At that time, the percentage of women on executive boards was 4%. Today at 10%, it has reached the double digits for the first time. Since our first survey in 2010, the percentage of women on supervisory boards has increased from 10% to 23% today. The trend has remained consistent for years, which is why I anticipate that we will have reached the 30% mark by 2024.

Despite the clearly growing awareness in both operative and strategic bodies, I am convinced that balanced gender diversity on executive boards will continue to be a generational commitment. It is divided into three phases: We are currently at the end of the first phase – I call it the awareness-raising phase. It is characterized by the «early movers», those who have already introduced practical measures to develop their gender diversity pipeline. They have recognized how important having their own pipeline with female talent is for employer attractiveness and business success. The number of these companies leading the way has grown steadily: 10 years ago, 32 companies had women on their executive boards, of which only 7 companies employed more than one woman on executive boards. Today, 62 companies have women on executive boards and 23 of those employ more than one woman. 55 of the 94 – i.e. 59% – female executive board members work in just 19% of the surveyed companies.

I am confident that we are on the threshold of a new phase: the awareness phase. In this phase the wheat is separated from the chaff. More and more companies are beginning to reap the rewards of their investments. This is largely because they have access to strong female talents, having promoted them over the years through purposeful talent management. They are increasing gender diversity at all levels, as well as expanding their lead in the talent market. The «late movers» have fallen behind as the skills shortage worsens. These companies have no choice now but to invest in their own pipeline. In the third phase – the acceptance phase – there are so many women ready at the middle management level of the gender diversity pipeline that their development to executive boards becomes standard procedure. Gender diversity is a widely accepted fact, and it will be hard to imagine a time when it was any different.

Despite the growing awareness, I am surprised that only 53% of the largest companies employ one or more women on executive boards. 47% of the surveyed companies still do not have one single woman on their executive board. In contrast, only 11% of the surveyed companies are without women on their strategic board – the supervisory board. I will follow this development closely in the coming years.

The trend toward digitalization is on everyone’s radar. Last year the companies improved their technology, automation, and digitalization capabilities. Companies are becoming increasingly aware that it is crucial to have this expertise on their executive boards in order to be successfully positioned for the significant challenges of digitalization. We are therefore currently seeing an increase in newly created positions for digitalization on executive boards. 39% of the surveyed companies already have this competence on executive boards. I assume that this trend will continue in the next years.

The following interviews with prominent executives shed light on how Swiss companies and public administration are dealing with these trends and what specific profiles they are recruiting in the face of digitalization. I wish you a stimulating read.

Yours faithfully, Guido Schilling

1 Executive Summary

In its 15th edition, the schillingreport presents several novelties: the percentage of women on executive boards of the 100 largest employers in Switzerland has, for the first time, reached the 10% mark. The public sector even reaches a 20% share of female top executives. Remarkable: companies are strengthening the digitalization competence of their executive boards. Furthermore, the percentage of foreigners has levelled off.

The Management Boards of Switzerland’s Private and Public Sector

Percentage of Women on Executive Boards for the First Time in the Double Digits
The percentage of women on executive boards of the 100 largest Swiss employers has grown from 9% to 10%. The companies appointed a woman to every fifth (21%) vacant seat on executive boards (2019 18 %). Despite the increase of the female proportion, only slightly more than half (53%) of the companies have women on their executive boards (2019 49%). There is still a need for a clear commitment on the part of executive and supervisory boards. The SMI companies have filled every third vacancy with a woman, thereby increasing the percentage of women on their executive boards from 10% to 12% and underscoring their pioneering role.

Classic Career Path – Internal Promotion
Following last year’s peak of 64%, the companies have again recruited the majority (61%) of their new female executive board members internally. Their proportion even exceeds that of the men (59%). It is encouraging to see companies turn their focus inward for promotions and benefit from their investment in the talent development. This has advantages for both sides: The new executive board members are familiar with the culture, have already established a network, and they have a positive radiating effect internally as well as externally.

Public Sector is Leading the Way
The proportion of women employed as top executives in the public sector steadily rose again by 2 percentage points and for the first time reached the 20% mark (2019 18%). The public sector confirmed its efforts of the previous year and again filled 38% of the vacancies in the top positions with a woman. The proportion of women in top positions is therefore twice as high as on executive boards of the private sector. The greater gender diversity in the public sector is due to the better reconciliation of career and family. It is the key to a balanced gender diversity. Here the public sector points the way for the private sector.

Companies Strengthen Digitalization Competence of their Executive Boards
Digitalization is on everyone’s lips. The schillingreport 2020 illustrates the effect it is having on executive boards: 12 companies appointed executive board members who have proven digitalization expertise. 8 of them have taken up positions newly created by the companies. This indicates that companies are attaching greater significance to digital transformation. The trend of embedding digital competence in executive boards will further intensify.

Share of Foreigners Stable
The share of foreigners on executive boards has dropped slightly from 45% to 44%. It has levelled off in this range for the past four years. Over two-thirds (70%) of foreign executive board members had previously been working in Switzerland or employed in a Swiss firm before being appointed to their current position. As a result, these «nationals» already joined a Swiss employer in middle or upper management. Foreign talent is an indispensable complement to Swiss junior staff. We must take care that the pipeline does not run dry.

Continuing Trend in Supervisory Boards – More Women with Multiple Mandates
The percentage of women on supervisory boards has gone up from 21% to 23%. Nearly every third vacant seat in the boardroom (32%) was filled by a woman (2019 38%). If the share of women in Switzerland continues to go up 2 percentage points every year, it will exceed the 30% mark, required by the legislator, in 2024 (31%). The proportion of female board members who hold 2 or more mandates has increased from 7% to 9%. They now comprise 17% of all board seats held by women. This percentage has been on the increase for the last 2 years: In 2018 it was at 10%, 2019 at 13%. While men have long pursued professional careers as supervisory board members by serving on multiple boards simultaneously, women are now following suit. It will be interesting to see how the proportion of women with multiple mandates develops in the context of a potential women’s quota.

Share of Women in DAX Supervisory Boards Rises
In the supervisory boards of DAX companies, the percentage of women has risen from 33% to 36%. Women were appointed to 38% of the vacant seats on supervisory boards (2019 30%). Since 2016, listed German companies have been obligated to maintain a 30% quota of women in their supervisory boards. Last year the companies’ efforts seemed to have lost momentum, as if once the quota had been reached, the work could be considered done. But now, we are seeing an upswing in the supervisory boards. On the DAX executive boards, the share of women grew from 14% to 15%.

2 Introduction

For 15 years now, guido schilling ag has collected data on the composition of the executive and supervisory boards of the 100 largest Swiss companies. Four years ago, we began looking at the public sector, analysing the top management of all 26 cantons and the federal administration. In addition, guido schilling ag makes a request every 2 years for the 250 largest Swiss companies to disclose their statistics on the gender diversity pipeline to determine the potential for women in upper and middle management. The schilling report seeks to create «Transparency at the Top», and this is why it is recognised as an independent source for in-depth analysis of Switzerland’s management positions.

The statistics on the executive and supervisory boards of Switzerland’s 100 largest employers were gathered by the guido schilling ag internal project team. Our own research, personal interviews and direct enquiries, even at companies that do not normally make their statistics public, are what make the results of the survey so meaningful. The data completeness rate is 97% for the executive boards and 96% for the supervisory boards. The statistics on the public sector were also gathered by the internal project team, and verified by the majority of cantons, as well as the federal administration.

The 250 most important companies were surveyed directly for statistics on the gender diversity pipeline, since this data is not publicly available or researchable. The survey of the 100 largest companies and the public sector was completed on 31 December 2019. Since the statistics on the gender diversity pipeline are only gathered once every two years, that survey was completed on 31 December 2018.

Statistics are also gathered on the subgroups of women, foreigners, SMI companies, as well as CEOs and supervisory board presidents, to examine trends and developments there.

This year, the schillingreport includes a series of interviews with CEOs, as well as a female representative of the public sector. In addition to the data gathered and analysed, these interviews offer interesting and diverse insights.

3 General Information about the Report

Since four years the survey of Switzerland’s largest employers additionally includes the public sector and the composition of its top management, as well as the gender diversity pipeline of the 250 largest Swiss companies. This expanded content included some important findings in the first year, and will also reveal exciting developments in the coming years. The internal project team used the broadest possible channels to conduct its research for the schillingreport, gathering additional data directly from the companies. Even companies that rarely disclose information have provided statistics that are unavailable to the general public. The consistency of the data continues to be solid in the report’s 15th year of publication.

Annex

For the schillingreport, an additional Annex has been prepared with comprehensive information on the results of the new surveys of the public sector and gender diversity pipelines. The Annex also contains additional information on the educational background of board members, languages spoken in the public sector etc., not included in the report, therefore providing a broad overview of the survey samples. All of the statistics gathered from 2006 to 2016 for the traditional schillingreport, with an analysis of Switzerland’s 100 largest employers, are available in a separate Annex.

The Samples

A list of all companies included in the survey is found at the end of the Report. For better orientation, several of the samples on the list are highlighted by an appropriate colour to distinguish between them.

Private Sector
Switzerland's 100 Largest Employers
Public Sector
26 Cantons and the Federal Administration
Gender Diversity Pipeline
Survey of the 250 Largest Swiss Companies
Executive BoardsSupervisory BoardsTop Officials
Federal Chancellor
Cantonal Chancellors
General Secretaries
Department Heads
Federal Councillors/
Government Councillors
Executive Boards
Senior Management
Middle Management
General Workforce
Supervisory Boards

The sample of the private economy, with the 100 largest Swiss employers, continues to be designated in the survey as the Private Sector, as it has been since 2006. The gender diversity pipeline sample, for which the 250 most important Swiss companies were surveyed, is titled Gender Diversity Pipeline. The 20 Swiss Market Index (SMI) companies were surveyed separately for both the private sector and the gender diversity pipeline. The public sector sample includes all 26 cantons, as well as the federal administration. The survey of the 100 largest companies and the public sector was completed on 31 December 2019. Since the statistics on the gender diversity pipeline are only gathered once every two years, that survey was completed on 31 December 2018.

Regarding the gender diversity pipeline, the situation at the two management levels below the executive board were also examined to determine whether there was any potential for the women there to move up to the next level. Senior management refers to the management teams of the executive board members, and middle management refers to those who directly report to senior management. Thus, the survey provides an overview of the three top operational management levels of the companies. For comparison purposes, the corresponding statistics for the entire workforce are examined.

The size of the samples can vary from question to question. This is because the complete data from all individuals is not available for some survey questions. With few exceptions, all percentages are rounded off to whole numbers in accordance with accepted rules, since decimal places reflect an unrealistic precision.

The survey places special emphasis on new members joining the management boards during the survey period, since this is often the best way to identify new developments and trends.

The private sector sample includes both corporate groups as well as subsidiaries that meet the criteria for selection. This apparent duplication is necessary because some subsidiaries have a dominant position on the Swiss market. For example, the survey includes both the parent company, Zurich Insurance Group, and the Swiss subsidiary, Zurich Versicherungs-Gesellschaft AG. Another example of this in this report is UBS AG and Credit Suisse Group AG, with their subsidiaries, UBS Switzerland AG and Credit Suisse (Switzerland) AG. Subsidiaries, branches and corporate divisions were consistently omitted in the survey of the supervisory boards.

Executive Boards/Top Managers/Gender Diversity PipelinePrivate SectorPublic SectorGender-Diversity-Pipeline
202020192020201920202019
Total companies/organisations surveyed1381382727249
Companies/organisations actually included in the report118100%117100%27100%27100%129100%
Complete information available11597%11497%2074%2074%11791%

The size of the private sector sample varies over the years due to mergers, takeovers and the structure of SMIs. A company may also undergo internal changes so that it no longer meets the criteria for inclusion in the schillingreport. For the private sector, the schilling report currently surveys 900 executive board members at 118 companies. For the public sector, 1027 top executives in 26 cantons and in the federal administration are included in the survey. Of the 249 companies approached for the gender diversity pipeline survey, 129 made their statistics available.

Supervisory Boards/Top Managers/Gender Diversity PipelinePrivate SectorPublic SectorGender-Diversity-Pipeline
202020192020201920202019
Total companies/organisations surveyed99992727249
Companies/organisations actually included in the report90100%89100%27100%27100%129100%
Complete information available8696%8899%27100%27100%12194%

The sample of the supervisory boards in the private sector is smaller than that of the executive boards, since the supervisory boards of Swiss subsidiaries and corporate divisions were not included. Inclusion of these boards would distort the picture of the sample. The schillingreport currently surveys 825 supervisory board members at 90 companies. For the public sector, 160 federal/governing council members were surveyed to determine the percentage of women. For the gender diversity pipeline, the supervisory boards of 129 companies were examined.

Breakdown of the Surveyed Companies by Industry

For the private sector, the 2020 schillingreport surveyed 118 companies from 11 different industries. The predominant industries were the manufacturing sector (35), and retail/consumer goods (17). There are 24 companies from the financial services sector, i.e. insurance and banking.

For the gender diversity pipeline survey, 129 companies from 11 different industries were surveyed. The predominant industries in this survey were banking and manufacturing, with 27 from each being surveyed. There are 39 companies from the financial services sector, i.e. insurance and banking, in this survey.

4 Management Boards of the Private and Public Sectors

The first section of the schillingreport concerns the composition of the executive and supervisory boards of the private sector, and that of the posts held by senior executives, as well as those on federal and cantonal government councils of the public sector.

4.1 Composition of the Boards

Executive Boards and Senior Managers

Composition of the EBs and Senior ManagementPrivate SectorPublic Sector
Overall SampleNewOverall SampleNew
Number of companies/organisations11827
Total members900100%159100%1027100%77100%
Number of women9410%3321%20420%2938%
Number of men80690%12679%82380%4862%
Number of Swiss members50056%8153%
Number of foreigners39544%7347%
Number of new members15918%777%

Between 2006 and 2016, the proportion of women on executive boards rose from 4% to 6%, the proportion of women among newly elected executive board members being relatively low. In 2017 the percentage of female members on executive boards leapt from 6% to 8% in the private sector and dropped back to 7% in 2018. Last year the proportion of women among the new members rose to 9% with 18% newly appointed female members. This year, the proportion of women on executive boards of the private sector reached the double digits for the first time, at 10%, thanks to 21% women among the newly appointed members. The public sector achieves a proportion of women in top positions of 20%, which is twice as high as in the private sector. At 7%, the fluctuation in the public sector is lower than in the private sector at 18%, but the proportion of women among the newly appointed top executives is significantly higher at 38% than in the private sector at 21%. The public sector, for example, has seen a leap from 18% to 20% female top executives.

The survey only examined the percentage of foreigners in the private sector, since senior public officials are almost exclusively Swiss citizens, and a survey of the percentage of foreigners has no relevance. In the private sector, the share of foreigners on executive boards has dropped from 45% to 44%, while 47% of newly appointed executive board members are foreigners. In other words, almost half of the newly appointed executive board members do not hold a Swiss passport.

Supervisory Boards and Federal/Governing Councils

Composition of the Supervisory Boards and Federal/Governing CouncilsPrivate SectorPublic Sector
Overall SampleNewOverall Sample
Number of companies/organisations9027
Total members825100%94100%160100%
Number of women18923%3032%4126%
Number of men63677%6468%11974%
Number of Swiss members50963%5359%
Number of foreigners30637%3141%
Number of new members9411%

Of the supervisory board members in the private sector, 23% are women (2019: 21%). Among the newly appointed supervisory board members, 32% are women. One in 3 vacant seats on the supervisory boards is filled by a woman. Last year, this was 38%. Among those serving on the political boards of the federal government and the cantons, 26% (2019: 25%) of all federal and governing council members are women, while 43% (2019: 29%) of those serving as councillors in the federal government alone are women.

The share of foreigners on supervisory boards of the private sector is 37% (2019: 39%), while 41% of the newly elected supervisory board members do not hold a Swiss passport. This survey of foreigners was not conducted in the public sector because political officeholders are almost exclusively Swiss citizens.

4.2 Areas of Responsibility of Senior Federal and Cantonal Officials, and of Executive Board Members

Areas of Responsibility of Top Federal and Cantonal Officials

Overall SampleFederal Chancellor/
Cantonal Chancellors
General SecretariesDepartment Heads
Existing95027142781
New77-1958
Total102727161839

In addition to the overall sample, three different areas of responsibilities or function groups are identified at the top levels of the public sector. The 26 cantonal chancellors and the federal chancellor are examined separately, as are the general secretaries and department heads.

Areas of Responsibility of Executive Board Members
Executive board members are divided into business and service functions in the survey. The business function includes all turnover-related positions at the company and/or all functions in the company’s core business, such as sales, marketing responsibilities, research and development, and production. Service functions are all positions that play a supporting role at the company and have no direct impact on sales, such as human resources and communication.

Areas of Responsibility of EB MembersAreas of Responsibility of New EB Members
Business FunctionService FunctionBusiness FunctionService Function
Overall Sample54761%35339%8654%7346%
Men51364%29336%7257%5443%
Women3438%6062%1442%1958%

While 61% of executive board members have a business function, the figure for new members is 54%. Among women, 38% have a business function, while the figure is 42% for new female members. While the majority of the women (62%) manage a support unit, two-thirds (64%) of the male executive board members work in the company’s core business, and just a third in managing service units.

4.3 Experience of the Board Members

When examining the experience of the board members in the private sector, two essential questions arise: What professional experience did the executive and supervisory board members have prior to being appointed to a board? And how long have they been at the company? In the public administration, on the other hand, the question of the permeability of the boundary between the public and private sector arises.

Private Sector

Executive Boards

Expierence of the EB MembersOverall SampleNew
Size of the sample873100%152100%
Worked at the company beforehand51359%7549%
Sat on another EB beforehand18521%4228%
Worked at the company and sat on another EB beforehand617%1510%
No prior experience at the company or on another EB11413%2013%

A total of 66% of executive board members worked at the company prior to joining the board and were recruited internally. This indicates the importance of managing internal talent. Among executive board members, 28% had sat on the board of another company prior to being appointed. By contrast, just 13% had no relevant experience at the same company or on another executive board. This is due in part to the recruitment from large corporate groups of managers who had not held posts on the top management board of the company, but instead on a lower board at the divisional level of corporate management, for example. Among new members, 13% had neither experience on another executive board nor were recruited internally. 59% of the newly appointed managers were already working at the company when they were appointed to the executive board. The number of new managers with experience on another executive board was 38%.

Average Experience of EB MembersOn the Current EBAt the CompanyAt the Company before joining the EB
Overall sample5 years
Worked at the company beforehand5 years17 years12 years
Worked at the company and sat on another EB beforehand4 years10 years6 years
Sat on another EB beforehand4 years
No prior experience at the company or on another EB4 years

There were some particularly interesting findings in the analysis of the average experience of executive board members. An examination of the period during which an executive board member has been employed at a company reveals that managers promoted internally must work at the company longer (an average of 12 years) before they are appointed to the executive board than members with external experience at the same hierarchical level – even if only at an SME. The latter are appointed to the management board after an average of just 6 years.

Supervisory Boards

Background of the SB MembersOverall SampleNew
Worked at the company beforehand12916%1213%
Previously CEO at the company1915%325%
Previously on the EB of the company2217%217%
Previously EB member and CEO at the company86%18%
Previously neither EB member nor CEO at the company8062%650%

A total of 825 supervisory board members were surveyed this year. Of these, 129 had already worked for the company before joining the board (16%). Of the latter, 15% were CEOs, 17% were executive board members, and another 6% held both of these posts. Therefore, experience at the company is an important factor in being selected to serve on the supervisory board. However, an even more interesting statistic is that, before being appointed, 12% of all 825 supervisory board members sat on the executive board of another company included in the schillingreport. 60 people in the sample are members of several supervisory boards, holding a total of 138 seats. In addition, 14 executive board members also sit on the supervisory board of another company included in the report.

Average Experience of SB MembersOn the current SBAt the CompanyAt the Company before joining the SB
Overall Sample6 years
Worked at the company beforehand8 years21 years13 years

The average supervisory board member has held the post for 6 years. With an average of 8 years, supervisory board members who worked in operations at the company beforehand have a little more seniority. They have been with the company an average of 21 years and were appointed to the supervisory board after an average of 13 years. The new supervisory board members were appointed to the strategic management board after an average of 9 years.

Public Sector

In analysing the experience of the senior officials of the public administration, the issue of the permeability of the boundary between the public and private sector comes to the forefront. It is also interesting to learn what career experience these individuals had prior to taking their current position, and how long they have been working for the cantonal/federal government overall.

Length of Service

Overall SampleFederal Chancellor/
Cantonal Chancellors
General SecretariesDepartment Heads
7 years8 years7 years7 years
Women5 years5 years4 years5 years
Men7 years10 years8 years7 years

The average length of service of the individuals surveyed is 7 years. The male cantonal chancellors have served the longest, an average of 10 years. The survey results show that women have served less time than men overall in those posts. The cantonal chancellors, both men and women, stand out here too. The length of service of male cantonal chancellors is on average 5 years longer than their female counterparts.

Experience

Overall SampleLength of Service in Current PositionLength of Service in the CantonYears in the Canton before Current Position
Previously worked in same canton (continuously)46953%7 years19 years12 years
Did not previously work in same canton38243%7 years

Before assuming their current post, 53% of the individuals surveyed worked continuously in the same canton or in the federal administration. Therefore, more than half of these senior officials were recruited internally. On average, these persons have been working in the federal/cantonal administration for 19 years, achieved their current post in 12 years, and have been working in it for an average of 7 years. Those who had not previously worked in the same canton or in the federal administration have also been working an average of 7 years in their current post. Another 4% were appointed to their position from outside, but had already worked in the same canton and or in the federal administration before.

Permeability

Overall SampleFederal Chancellor/
Cantonal Chancellors
General SecretariesDepartment Heads
Previously worked in the same canton50256%1456%8362%40558%
Previously worked in private sector24633%418%3533%20834%
Previously worked in the public sector38451%1568%4846%32152%
Previously worked in the private and public sector11616%314%2221%9115%

Overall, 56% of the senior officials surveyed already worked for their current cantonal/federal employer prior to taking their current post: 93% of them have continuously worked there, while 7% left the canton/federal administration and returned later. A total of 49% of these individuals once worked in the private sector before taking their current position. At 48%, this was slighter less in 2019. In 2018, this figure was 49%, while in 2017 it was 47%. Therefore, the boundary between the private and public sector stays constant. A total of 67% had previously worked for another public administration. And 16% had previously worked in both the private as well as the public sector. This means that many public managers have accumulated extensive experience throughout their careers beyond the organisation they work for now, facilitating a broader view of the professional world.

Of the 77 people who were newly appointed to their posts in the survey period, 57% were recruited internally (2019: 47%). A total of 28% of the new people previously worked in another public administration capacity, while 34% had experience in the private sector, 18% in both public administration and the private sector, with 20% having begun their career with their current employer. In most cases, cantonal chancellors and federal chancellors are recruited from within the cantons/federal government. In this survey, 60% of the cantonal chancellors and the federal chancellor were recruited internally for their posts. This figure is 52% in the case of cantonal chancellors, and 56% for department heads. Over half of the general secretaries (54%) have experience in the private sector, while 49% of department heads, and a third, or 32% (2019: 32%), of the chancellery supervisors do.

4.4 Age of the Board Members

A person’s age is often equated with their experience. This chapter details the average age of board members and the changes in average age over the years.

Private Sector

Executive Boards

Average Age of the EB MembersOverall SampleNew
Overall Sample53 years49 years
Men53 years49 years
Women50 years50 years
Swiss members 52 years48 years
Foreigners53 years51 years
SMI54 years51 years

Executive board members are on average 53 years old and new executive board members 49 years old. Both average ages have gone up in the past few years. The average age of the new members has increased by 3 years since 2008, at which time they were 46 years old. The increase in age also became apparent 3 years later in the overall sample: In 2011 the executive board members were 50 years old – 3 years younger than today. Female executive board members are now 50 years old, which makes them 3 years younger than their male colleagues (53 years). Swiss and foreign executive board members are 52 and 53 years old, respectively. At 51, the new foreign executive board members are 3 years older than their Swiss counterparts (48 years).

Supervisory Boards

Average Age of the SB MembersOverall SampleNew
Overall sample59 years55 years
Men60 years56 years
Women55 years52 years
Swiss members59 years54 years
Foreigners59 years56 years
SMI60 years57 years

The age of supervisory board members has remained unchanged at 59 since 2011. They are 4 years older than the new board members (55 years). Female supervisory board members are 55 years old – 5 years younger than their male colleagues (60 years). The new female supervisory board members are 52 years old and the new male supervisory board members are 56 years old. Both Swiss and foreign supervisory board members are 59 years old. Among the new supervisory board members, foreigners are on average 56 years old, 2 years older than the Swiss (54 years).

Public Sector

Top Federal and Cantonal Officials

Average Age of Top Federal and Cantonal OfficialsOverall SampleFederal Chancellor/
Cantonal Chancellors
General SecretariesDepartment Heads
SampleNewSampleNewSampleNewSampleNew
Overall Sample53 years49 years53 years-50 years46 years53 years50 years
Men53 years49 years55 years-51 years45 years54 years50 years
Women50 years48 years49 years-47 years48 years52 years48 years

Senior public officials in federal and cantonal administration are on average 53 years old and the new senior officials 49 years. The average age of female senior officials is 50 years. The men are 3 years older (53 years). The new female senior officials are 48 and the new male senior officials are 49 years old.

The average age of federal chancellors and cantonal chancellors (male and female) has remained unchanged at 52 years since surveying began in 2016 until last year. This year a slight increase to 53 years was observed. Women are 49 years old and thus 6 years younger than their male colleagues (55 years).

The average age of general secretaries (male and female) remains unchanged to the previous year at 50 years. Since surveying began in 2016, the average age has increased by 1 year. Women are 47 years old and thus 4 years younger than their male colleagues (51 years).

The average age of department heads (male and female) remains unchanged to the previous year at 53 years. Since surveying began in 2016 the average age has increased by 1 year. Women are 52 years old and thus 2 years younger than their male colleagues (54 years).

4.5 Length of Employment of Resigned Board Members

This chapter shows how long board members who resigned during the survey period had been employed. This observation offers fascinating insights into how women, men, Swiss and foreigners differ in the length of time they stay at their posts. 

Private Sector

Executive Boards

Average Length of Employment of Resigned EB MembersIn EBIn EB (not in the Company beforehand)In EB (in the Company beforehande)In the Company
Overall Sample1435489
Sample7 years7 years6 years11 years
Men7 years7 years6 years11 years
Women5 years5 years6 years18 years
Swiss members8 years9 years7 years10 years
Foreigners5 years5 years6 years12 years

During the past year, 143 executive board members left their posts. They had been active board members for 7 years on average – 1 year longer than the year before. The 14 female executive board members remained 5 years in office, the 129 men 7 years. Consequently, women stayed on executive boards for a shorter time than men. In the previous year, men had also been 7 years on executive boards and thus nearly twice as long as the women who resigned (4 years).

Female executive board members who had been internally recruited stayed 6 years in office. Externally recruited women stayed 5 years on the board. The reverse is true for men: Men who were internally recruited stayed 6 years, externally recruited 7 years.

The Swiss stayed 8 years on the executive board, foreigners only 5 years. As was seen in both prior years, the Swiss stayed longer on executive boards than foreigners.

Supervisory Boards

Average Length of Employment of Resigned SB Membersin SBOverall Sample
Overall sample8 years72
Men8 years61
Women8 years11
Swiss members9 years40
Foreigners6 years32

Last year 72 supervisory board members left their posts. On average they stayed 8 years on the supervisory board – 2 years less than in the previous year. Both the 11 female board members as well as the 61 male board members stayed in office for 8 years (2019 both 11 years). The Swiss stayed 9 years on the supervisory board last year, foreigners 6 years. As was seen in both prior years, the Swiss stayed longer on the supervisory board than foreigners.

Public Sector

Top Federal and Cantonal Officials

Average Length of Employment of Top Federal and Cantonal OfficialsOverall SampleFederal Chancellor/
Cantonal Chancellors
General SecretariesDepartment Heads
Overall Sample10 years-11 years9 years
Men10 years-12 years10 years
Women6 years-7 years6 years

Last year 92 senior officials in federal and cantonal administration left their post. Data is available on the appointment date for 79 senior officials. On average senior officials stayed 10 years in office – 1 year less than the year before. Men stayed in their post for 10 years, women 6 years. In the previous year, men stayed 1 year longer in their post, women 2 years longer. Across all groups, men stayed in office longer than women. For cantonal chancellors, no resignations were recorded. The 18 general secretaries stayed 11 years in office – the 13 men 12 years, the 5 women 7 years. The 61 department heads stayed 9 years on average in office – the 53 men 10 years, the 8 women 6 years.

5 Gender Diversity of the Private and Public Sectors

This chapter focuses on the percentages of women in the examined samples of the private and public sectors as well as the gender diversity pipeline of the participating companies. The gender diversity pipeline sample, in which the 250 most important Swiss companies were surveyed and whose data were provided by 129 companies, is different from that of the 100 largest Swiss employers surveyed since 2006. The figures for the gender diversity pipeline are collected every two years. For this report, the figures from 2019 were used. For this year’s report, no new figures are available, the figures from 2019 apply. This chapter therefore only gives a brief overview this year.

LevelGender Diversity PipelinePublic Sector
SB Presidency3%
Supervisory Boards/Government and Federal Council19%25%
CEO4%
Executive Boards/Senior Public Officials10%18%
Senior Management16%22%
Middle Management24%28%
Total workforce38%47%

For the 129 companies surveyed, the percentage of women on the supervisory board is 19%, 2 percentage points higher than the figure for the last survey in 2017. Supervisory board president positions amount to 3% (2017 4%). While 38% of the total workforce is made up of women, 24% work in middle management and 16% in top management. A clear and continuous decline in the proportion of women can be observed from one hierarchical level to the next. At the executive board level, this percentage is falling sharply once again; in the companies surveyed, women account for 10%, which is 1 percentage point above the average for the 100 largest employers. At each of these levels, the proportion of women has increased between 1 and 3 percentage points each since 2017. 4% of CEOs are women. In the public sector sample, 14 cantons and the Swiss Federation evaluated their percentages of women at the levels below senior public officials, and the picture is similar to that of the 129 private sector companies, although with higher values. All 26 cantons and the federal administration were evaluated for the senior public officials. In the included cantons, almost half of the workforce consists of women (2017 49%), 28% at middle management level (2017 24%) and 22% at senior management level (2017 22%).

Gender Diversity Pipeline Private Sector

Gender Diversity Pipeline Public Sector

The figures above can be easily displayed as a pipeline by means of these graphs, which clearly shows that the percentages of women are significantly higher in the lower levels than at management level. The pyramid shape is characteristic of many participating companies and their industry values, with large differences in the proportion of women within the industries.

6 Nationalities in the Private Sector

The internationalisation of companies also brings changes to their management boards. It is not just the best managers in Switzerland who are in demand today but the best international managers. A clear sign of this is that English is increasingly becoming the corporate language. This trend merits special consideration. A survey of nationalities in the public sector was not conducted, since the public sector employs almost exclusively Swiss citizens, and a survey of the percentage of foreigners is of no relevance.

6.1 Executive Boards

Overview of Foreign EB Members

OverviewOverall SampleNew
Number of companies118
Total EB members895100%159100%
Number of foreigners39544%7346%
Number of foreigners395100%73100%
Number of women4812%2129%
Number of men34788%5271%
Number of CEOs118100%17100%
Number of foreigners4336%741%
Number of SMI EB members211100%42100%
Number of foreigners14267%2969%

The proportion of foreigners on executive boards rose continuously by 9 percentage points from 2006 to 2011, from 36% to 45%. Since then, it appears to have settled at this level and currently stands at 44%. While foreigners accounted for 60% of the newly appointed members in 2016 and 64% in 2017, the figure was only 38% in 2018 and 54% again in 2019. Currently, the proportion of foreigners among the new members is 46%. The number of new foreigners on executive boards is similar to the number who have left, which explains the constant percentage of foreigners in the overall sample.

After stagnating at 63% between 2016 and 2018, the proportion of foreigners on the management boards of SMI companies rose to 65% in 2019 and currently stands at 67%. This share is therefore well above the overall sample, which is 44%, representing a difference of 23 percentage points.

The number of foreigners among the CEOs decreased by 4 percentage points and is now 36% (2019: 40%). Among the foreigners in the overall sample, the percentage of women, at 12%, is more than the share in the overall average (10%). Among the new foreigners, 29% are women, which is also higher as in the overall sample (21%). In 2019, this figure was 18% and therefore slightly lower.

There are no Swiss members on 14 of the executive boards examined in the report (12%), while all of the executive board members at 26 of the 118 companies surveyed (22%) are Swiss. Last year, this figure was four percentage points lower, or 18%. Both of these figures are low, which means that the companies have mixed management boards in terms of nationality.

Nationality of Foreign EB Members

Most of the foreign executive board members continue to be from Germany (122 of 395, or 31%). The 101 Anglo-Saxons (U.S. GB, AUS, CAN, IRL) represent a total of 26% (2019: 26%). Germans and Anglo-Saxons also represent the majority of the 73 new executive board members. The 28 German members account for 38%, representing an increase from last year (2019: 23%). In contrast, the 16 Anglo-Saxons now represent 22% (2019: 35%).

6.2 Supervisory Boards

Overview of Foreign SB Members

OverviewOverall SampleNew
Number of companies90
Total SB members825100%94100%
Number of foreigners30637%3133%
Number of foreigners306100%31100%
Number of women7424%1032%
Number of men23276%2168%
Number of SB presidents90100%5100%
Number of foreigners2123%120%
Number of SMI SB presidents210100%30100%
Number of foreigners12861%1860%

At 37%, the proportion of foreigners on the supervisory boards is 2 percentage points lower than the previous year and 7 points lower than on the executive boards (44%). At 23%, the number of foreign supervisory board presidents is 2 percentage points lower than the previous year. The number of foreign CEOs decreased from 40% to 36%. The proportion of women among the foreigners is 24%, somewhat higher than the 23% in the overall sample, and it has continuously increased since the survey began. Among new foreign members, women represent 32%, significantly higher than the 24% of the overall sample. The 61% of foreign supervisory board members at SMI companies is 24 points higher than that of all foreign supervisory board members (37%).

At 4 of the companies surveyed (4%), there are no Swiss supervisory board members, while all of the supervisory board members at 17 of the 90 companies surveyed (19%) are Swiss.

Nationality of Foreign SB Members

The 71 Germans are also the largest group among the 306 foreign supervisory board members, representing 23%. The U.S. is the second largest group with 21% (63 people), followed by Great Britain with 9% (27 people), and France with 5% (14 people). There are a total of 109 Anglo-Saxons (U.S., GB, CAN, AUS, IRL) representing 36%. Among those from German-speaking countries, Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein make up a total of 27% of foreign supervisory board members (84 people), which is 9 percentage points fewer than the Anglo Saxons. While there are more than twice as many Germans on executive boards as U.S. citizens, the situation is different on supervisory boards: Although there are also more Germans on supervisory boards, they represent only about 13% more than the Americans.

This year there are 31 new foreign supervisory board members, reflecting an interesting trend with respect to previous years. In 2017, German and British members represented the largest group at 17% (8 each), followed by the U.S. at 15% (7), and China and France at 8% (4 each). In 2018, the Germans represented the largest group by far with 31%, followed by the U.S. with 18% and the British with 8%. Overall, Anglo-Saxons (USA, GB, Canada, Ireland) represented 31% (12) of the new supervisory board members, while Germans and Austrians represented a total of 33% (13 members). In 2019, members from the U.S. represented 18% (9) of the new supervisory board members, followed by the Germans, who represented 14% (7), and ahead of the British, who represented 10% (5). Altogether, the Anglo-Saxon countries represented 36% of the new supervisory board members. This year, Germans are again second with 3 new supervisory board members (10%) behind the U.S. with 12 (39%), but in front of the Anglo-Saxons (British and Canadian), the Netherlands and Spain with 2 seats (6%) each.

6.3 Women

Overview

Executive BoardsSupervisory Boards
Overall SampleNewOverall SampleNew
Total female members94100%33100%187100%28100%
Number of Swiss women4649%1236%11360%1864%
Number of foreign women4851%2164%7440%1036%
Total female CEOs/SB presidents3100%--5100%1100%
Number of Swiss women3100%--5100%1100%
Number of foreign women--------
Total female SMI members25100%14100%54100%8100%
Number of Swiss women520%321%2037%337.5%
Number of foreign women2080%1179%3463%562.5%
Total female SMI CEOs/SB presidents----1100%--
Number of Swiss women----1100%--
Number of foreign women--------

Among the female executive board members, there are again more Swiss nationals (49%) than last year (2019: 45%). At 60%, there are also more Swiss women on supervisory boards than last year (2019: 58%), although the figure has levelled off at 60% over the last 5 years. The proportion of foreign women both on executive and supervisory boards has increased continuously over the entire survey period, which suggests that the self-image of women pursuing a career is higher abroad than in Switzerland. Socially, politically and corporately Switzerland has a lot of catching up to do in this area.

Nationality of Foreign Women on Executive Boards

The Germans represent the largest group of foreign women: 26% (12) of all foreign women on executive boards hold a German passport (2019: 22%). French women are the second largest group (10) at 22% (2019: 20%), followed by women from the U.S. (9) with 20% (2019: 17%) and Italians, Belgians, Swedes and Australians with each 4% (2 members). Among the new members, there are 6 Germans (29%), 5 Americans (24%), 3 French women (14%). The picture is somewhat different among the 14 new female SMI executive board members: 21% of them hold a Swiss passport (2019: 14%). Among the 11 foreign women on SMI executive boards, 4 (36%) are from Germany, 2 (18%) are from the U.S. and France and 1 each (9%) from Canada, Italy and Sweden. At 36%, female Germans also make up the largest share in this case. Notably, for the first time since 2012 German women are once again represented on SMI executive boards.

Nationality of Foreign Women on Supervisory Boards

Among supervisory board members, 60% are Swiss women. This figure was 58% last year, and 60% the year before. Among the 74 foreign women on supervisory boards, 43% (32) are Anglo-Saxon, and half of them (24% or 18 people) hold a U.S. passport. Among all women on the supervisory boards, 19% (14) are German and 5% (4) are French, while Swedish, Chinese and Dutch women each represent 4% with 3 female supervisory board members each. Another 5 countries are each represented by 2 female supervisory board members, or 3% in each case. If SMI companies are excluded from the analysis, the proportion of Swiss women (92) among the 132 supervisory board members is 70%. This is explained by the fact that 46% (34) of all 74 of the foreign female supervisory board members work at SMI companies. Therefore, SMI-listed companies are the most internationalised with respect to female supervisory board members.

7 A Look at Interesting Subgroups

This separate analysis of interesting subgroups and industries is based on extensive findings in the private sector and on the gender diversity pipeline, and on a comparison with the overall sample. The analysis is intended as a starting point for a better understanding of specific developments and trends in Switzerland.

7.1 CEOs and Supervisory Board Presidents

CEOs and supervisory board presidents warrant special attention. Their statistics were examined separately from the overall survey data because they reveal how the path to the top of a company might look.

Overview of CEOs and Supervisory Board Presidents

CEOs

Overview of CEOsOverall SampleNew
Number of companies118
Total CEOs118100%17100%
Number of women33%--
Number of men11597%17100%
Number of Swiss members7564%1059%
Number of foreigners4336%741%
Number of new members1714%
Number of SMI CEOs20100%2100%
Number of women----
Number of men20100%2100%
Number of Swiss members1155%2100%
Number of foreigners945%--
Number of new members210%

Among the 118 CEOs, men clearly dominate. There are only 3 women. They are Suzanne Thoma (BKW Energie AG), Philomena Colatrella (CSS Insurance), and Magdalena Martullo-Blocher (EMS-Chemie Holding AG).

The number of CEOs who are foreigners equals 36%, which is considerably lower than in the overall sample (44%) and 4 percentage points lower than the previous year. The foreign CEOs reached their peak in 2011 at 44%, and has since declined. The SMI CEOs are clearly more international: 45% of them hold a foreign passport (2019: 45%). This year, a total of 17 CEOs, or 14%, were new to the post.

Supervisory Board Presidents

Overview of SB PresidentsOverall SampleNew
Number of companies90
Total SB presidents90100%5100%
Number of women56%120%
Number of men8594%480%
Number of Swiss members6977%480%
Number of foreigners2123%120%
Number of new members56%
Number of SMI SB Presidents20100%1100%
Number of women15%--
Number of men1995%1100%
Number of Swiss members1365%--
Number of foreigners735%1100%
Number of new members15%

There are 5 female supervisory board presidents. They are Daniela Bosshardt-Hengartner (Galenica Ltd.), Doris Russi Schurter (Helvetia Group), Ursula Nold (Migros-Genossenschafts-Bund), Monika Ribar (Swiss Federal Railways SBB), and Nayla Hayek (The Swatch Group Ltd.). Therefore, the share of women among the supervisory board presidents increased from 3% to 6% but remains low.

At 23%, there are also relatively few foreign supervisory board presidents. Among the new supervisory board presidents, 20% are foreigners (2019: 25%). 6% (5) of supervisory board presidents were new to their companies.

Nationality of CEOs and Supervisory Board Presidents

Nationality of Foreign CEOs

Among the 118 CEOs, 75 (64%) hold a Swiss passport. The 19 Germans (16%) represent the largest group of foreign CEOs, as they do on the executive boards. The 7 American CEOs are the second largest group (6%). The 5 French CEOs (4%) come in third. Then come Belgium and Spain, each with 2 representatives (2% each). Among the 17 newly appointed CEOs, 10 (59%) are Swiss, while this figure was 65% in the previous year. Germany is represented by 24% of the new CEOs (4). In addition, one of the new CEOs appointed this year is from the U.S., Denmark and Mexico.

Nationality of Foreign SB Presidents

The percentage of Swiss supervisory board presidents is higher than that of Swiss CEOs. While 75 (64%) of the 118 CEOs are Swiss, 69 (77%) of the 90 supervisory presidents hold a Swiss passport. The 7 Germans represent the largest group, representing 33% of all foreign supervisory board presidents. They are followed by Italians, Belgians and U.S. Americans with each 2 (10%) supervisory board presidents. The foreign supervisory board presidents represent 12 different countries, i.e. most countries are represented just once. A similar pattern can be observed in past years.

Experience of CEOs and Supervisory Board Presidents

CEOs

Experience of the CEOsOverall SampleNew
Size of the sample118100%17100%
CEO recruited internally8269%741%
CEO recruited from outside3631%1059%

Of the CEOs, 69% (2019: 71%) worked at the company before being appointed. At 41% (2019: 86%), this figure is clearly lower for the new CEOs.

Average experience of the CEOsAs CEOOn the Current EBAt the company
Overall sample4 years
Internally recruited CEOs4 years9 years20 years
Externally recruited CEOs4 years

On average, the CEOs have held the position for 4 years. Internally recruited CEOs have been at the company an average of 20 years, were appointed to the executive board after an average of 11 years, and as CEO after 5 years.

SB Presidents

Experience of the SB PresidentsOverall SampleNew
Size of the sample89100%5100%
Internally recruited SB president6876%360%
Externally recruited SB president2124%240%
Member of the same SB beforehand5968%120%
Previously CEO of the company2023%120%
Previously on the Eb of the company89%--

Prior to their appointment, 76% (2019: 76%) of supervisory board presidents worked in operations for the same company or sat on its supervisory board. Just 24% (2019: 24%) of the presidents were appointed from outside the company. A total of 68% (2019: 66%) were on the supervisory board, 23% of them were CEOs (2019: 25%) and/or 9% (2019: 9%) were members of the executive board, prior to their appointment as supervisory board president. Among the newly appointed presidents, 60% (2019: 63%) were already on the supervisory board, and 20% (2019: 13%) were CEO beforehand.

Average Experience of the SB PresidentsAs SB PresidentOn the Current SBAt the Company
Overall Sample6 years
Previously member of this SB7 years12 years23 years
Externally recruited SB president5 years

On average, SB presidents have been in the post for 6 years, while the average is 7 years for internally recruited presidents. Those presidents who were already supervisory board members have held seats on the current board an average of 12 years, and those who worked in operations beforehand have been at the company an average of 23 years. The externally recruited supervisory board presidents have held the office 5 years on average.

Age of CEOs and Presidents of SB

CEOs

Average Age of the CEOsOverall SampleNew
Size of the sample11514
Overall sample54 years54 years
Men54 years54 years
Women53 years-
Swiss members54 years54 years
Foreigners55 years55 years
SMI56 years61 years

The average age of CEOs is 54 years and has not changed compared to the previous year; it has, however, increased by 2 years since 2012. CEOs are on average 1 year older than executive board members. The average age of new CEOs is 1 year higher (54 years) than last year. Female CEOs are on average 53 years old and therefore 1 year younger than their male colleagues (54 years).

SB Presidents

Average Age of the SB PresidentsOverall SampleNew
Size of the sample905
Overall Sample62 years58 years
Men63 years61 years
Women57 years49 years
Swiss members62 years57 years
Foreigners62 years64 years
SMI65 years64 years

Supervisory board presidents are on average 62 years old and therefore 3 years older than other members of the supervisory board (59 years). The average age of presidents has not changed from the previous year and is again at the same level as when surveying began in 2010. Newly appointed SB presidents are 58 years old – 2 years younger (60 years) than the year before. Moreover, they are 3 years older than new members of the supervisory board (55 years). Female SB presidents are 57 years old and therefore 2 years older than female board members (55 years).

Length of Employment of resigned CEOs and Presidents of SB

CEOs

Average Length of Employment of the Resigned CEOsCEOCEO recruited from outsideCEO recruited internallyIn EB until appointment as CEO
Size of the sample16214
Overall Sample6 years5 years6 years3 years
Men6 years5 years6 years3 years
Women----
Swiss members5 years-5 years5 years
Foreigners6 years4 years7 years3 years

Last year, 16 CEOs resigned from office. They had served as CEOs for an average of 6 years – 2 years less than in the year before. There were no resignations by a woman in this year. In the previous year, the male CEOs had held their positions for 8 years, the only female CEO 6 years. Also in the previous year, Swiss CEOs had been in office for 5 years, foreigners 6 years. In contrast to the two preceding years, we see that Swiss CEOs remain in their posts for one year less than foreign ones. CEOs who were recruited from within the company stayed 6 years in office, which is longer than CEOs who were recruited externally (5 years).

SB Presidents

Average Length of Employment of the Resigned SB PresidentsSB Presidentsin SB
Size of the sample7
Overall sample6 years10 years
Men6 years10 years
Women--
Swiss members6 years12 years
Foreigners4 years4 years

In the past year 7 supervisory board presidents resigned from office. They had served in their function for 6 years on average – 2 years less than in the year before. All the presidents who resigned were men. They had been on the supervisory board for 10 years; in the preceding year they had served 12 years. Last year, the foreign-born presidents stayed in office for 4 years and were on the board for 4 years since they all had been recruited externally. Swiss nationals served as presidents for 6 years and 12 years as board members.

7.2 SMI Companies

The blue-chip SMI is Switzerland’s most important stock-market index and includes the 20 largest SPI (Swiss Performance Index) stocks. The SMI accounts for around 85% of the total capitalisation of the Swiss stock market. SMI companies are the leaders in internationalisation, but also in other areas. The SMI companies are analysed as a separate subgroup to identify important trends in relation to the future evolution of Swiss management boards.

Composition of SMI Executive Boards

Composition of the SMI EBOverall SampleNew
Number of companies20
Total EB members211100%42100%
Number of women2512%1433%
Number of men18688%2867%
Number of Swiss members6933%1331%
Number of foreigners14267%2969%
Number of new members4220%
Number of SMI CEOs20100%2100%
Number of Swiss members1155%2100%
Number of foreigners945%--
Number of new members210%

At SMI companies, the share of women on executive boards increased by 5 percentage points over 8 years, from 3% in 2006 to 8% for the first time in 2013. After falling to 6% in 2014 and stagnating for two years, it has been rising again since 2017 and reached 10% in 2019. Currently, SMI companies fill 33% of vacant executive board positions with women, thus increasing the proportion of women on executive boards to 12%, which is 2 percentage points above the overall sample (10%).

While the share of foreigners on the executive boards of SMI companies peaked at 68% in 2013, it fell to 65% in 2014, and remained at 63% from 2015 to 2018, rising again to 65% in 2019. Currently, SMI companies are recording a slightly higher percentage of 67% foreigners on executive boards. Therefore, the composition of executive boards at SMI companies tends to be much more international than the overall sample (44%). An interesting trend has developed regarding CEOs at SMI companies. Four years ago, the percentage of foreigners among SMI chief executives was 71%. Three years ago, it dropped to 55%, two years ago to 47% and last year to 45%. Currently, SMI companies also record 45% CEOs with foreign passports. In other words, more than half of the CEOs at SMI companies hold a Swiss passport.

Composition of SMI Supervisory Boards

Composition of the SMI SBOverall SampleNew
Number of companies20
Total SB members210100%30100%
Number of women5426%827%
Number of men15674%2273%
Number of Swiss members8239%1240%
Number of foreigners12861%1860%
Number of new members3014%
Number of SMI SB Members20100%1100%
Number of Swiss members1365%1100%
Number of foreigners735%--
Number of new members15%

Of the samples examined, SMI supervisory boards have the highest share of women with 26%. This is 2 percentage points higher than the previous year. This is explained by the number of women among new SMI supervisory board members, which is 27%. The percentage of foreigners on the SMI supervisory boards has risen by 1 percentage point to 61%. The share of newly appointed SMI supervisory board members who are foreigners is now 60%, while last year it was 86% and 63% in 2018. Of the 20 SMI SB presidents, 13 hold a Swiss passport, or 65%.

Nationality of SMI Management Boards

Executive Boards

With 52 members, the Anglo-Saxon countries (U.S., GB, AUS, CAN and IRL) make up 37%, or more than a third of the 142 foreigners on SMI executive boards. With 26 members (18%), Germany is in second place after the U.S., which represents 24% (34 members). France is third with 14% (20 members). Great Britain comes in fourth with 8% (12 members). This picture is somewhat different among the new SMI executive board members: 31% of the new foreign SMI executive board members are from Germany (9 members). The new foreign members also include 5 from the U.S. (17%) and 3 from Great Britain (10.5%). Together with 1 Canadian member (3.5%), the Anglo-Saxons account for 31% of the new SMI executive board members. In 2018, there was just 1 Anglo-Saxon among new SMI executive board members (1 from the U.S., or 5%), in 2019 there were 13 (8 U.S. Americans, 29%; 5 Brits, 18%). A comparison of the overall sample with that of the SMI shows that German managers play a minor role in SMI companies, while they clearly dominate among foreigners in the overall sample.

Supervisory Boards

The picture is similar on SMI supervisory boards. At 42%, the 54 Anglo-Saxons (U.S., GB, CAN and AUS) also represent the dominant share of the 128 foreigners, the largest group among them being the 34 U.S. citizens, representing 27%. The 19 German members are the second largest group with 15%, and the 11 British members are the third largest with 9%, closely followed by the 10 French members, who represent 8%: Among the 18 newly appointed foreign SMI supervisory board member, the 12 Anglo-Saxons (USA, GB and CAN) dominate with 67%, followed by the Dutch with 11% (2 members). Another 4 countries are each represented by 1 (6%) new member. While there were significantly more Americans than Germans on the SMI supervisory boards, there are more Germans (71) than Americans (63) on the supervisory boards in the overall sample.

Areas of Responsibilities of SMI Executive Board Members

Executive board members are divided into business and service functions in the survey. The business function includes all sales-related positions at the company and/or all functions in the company’s core business, such as sales, marketing responsibilities, research and development, and production. The service function includes all positions that play a supporting role at the company and have no direct impact on sales, such as human resources and communication.

Areas of Responsibility of SMI EB MembersAreas of Responsibility of New SMI EB Members
Business FunctionService FunctionBusiness FunctionService Function
Overall Sample13564%7636%2355%1945%
Men12567%6133%1761%1139%
Women1040%1560%643%857%

While 64% of SMI executive board members have a business function, the figure for new members is 55%. Both figures are close to the overall sample (61% and 54%, respectively). Among female SMI executive board members, 40% have a business function, while 43% of the new female members do. Similar to the overall sample, less than half of the woman have a business function, while two-thirds of the men do.

Experience of SMI Board Members

Executive Boards

Experience of the SMI EB MembersOverall SampleNew
Size of the sample211100%42100%
Worked at the company beforehand15071%2457%
Sat on another EB beforehand3316%1024%
Worked at the company and sat on another EB beforehand126%614%
No prior experience at the company or on another EB168%25%

A total of 71% of the SMI executive board members worked at the company prior to joining the board. Among executive board members, 16% had sat on another executive board prior to being appointed, while 8% had no relevant experience at the same company or another executive board. Among the new SMI executive board members, 5% (2019: 18%) had no relevant experience at the same company or on another executive board.

Average Experience of SMI EB MembersOn the Current EBAt the CompanyAt the Company before joining the EB
Overall sample5 years
Worked at the company beforehand6 years19 years13 years
Worked at the company and sat on another EB beforehand3 years9 years6 years
Sat on another EB beforehand3 years
No prior experience at the company or on another EB3 years

An analysis of the length of service of executive board members reveals that internally promoted SMI managers have to work longer at the company, an average of 13 years, before being appointed to the board than those in the overall sample, who are appointed after just 12 years. SMI executive board members have 19 years of experience at the company on average, compared to 17 years in the overall sample. SMI executive management board members with external executive management experience – even if only at an SME – join the management board after 3 years on average, one year shorter than in the overall sample.

Supervisory Boards

Average Experience of SMI SB MembersOn the Current SBAt the CompanyAt the Company before joining the SB
Overall sample6 years
Worked at the company beforehand8 years22 years14 years

Internally recruited SMI supervisory board members have worked an average of 22 years at the company and were appointed to the supervisory board after 14 years. The average SMI supervisory board member has held the post for 6 years, which is the same as in the overall sample.

Experience of the SMI SB MembersOverall SampleNew
Worked at the company beforehand2813%311%
CEO at the company beforehand518%267%
EB member beforehand1036%133%
EB member and CEO beforehand311%--
Neither EB member nor CEO beforehand1036%--

A total of 210 SMI supervisory board members were surveyed this year. 13% of these members had already been working for the company before joining the board. Of these, 18% were previously CEO, 36% were on the executive board, and 11% had been both executive board members and CEOs. Of all of the 210 supervisory board members, 10% sat on the executive board of another company included in the schillingreport before their current appointment. In addition, 13 members simultaneously sit on 2 SMI supervisory boards and hold a total of 26 seats, 10 SMI executive board members each hold 1 supervisory board seat at another SMI company.

Age of SMI Board Members

Executive Boards

Average Age of SMI-EB MembersOverall SampleNew
Size of the sample19634
Overall sample54 years51 years
Men54 years50 years
Women53 years53 years
Swiss members55 years50 years
Foreigners54 years52 years
CEOs56 years64 years

The executive board members of SMI companies are on average 54, while new board members are 51 years old. The SMI board members are the same age on average as in the previous year, but 4 years older (50 years) than in 2006 when surveying began. The new SMI executive board members are the same age as in the previous year (51 years). In 2006 their average age was 47. Female SMI executive board members are now 53 years old and thus 1 year younger than their male colleagues (54 years). The new female SMI executive board members are also 53 years old. The new male SMI executive board members are 3 years younger (50 years). Swiss SMI executive board members are 55 years old. Their foreign counterparts are 1 year younger (54 years). The CEOs of SMI companies are 56 years old, while the new CEOs are 64 years old.

Supervisory Boards

Average Age of the SMI-SB MembersOverall SampleNew
Size of the sample20930
Overall sample60 years57 years
Men61 years59 years
Women56 years53 years
Swiss members60 years55 years
Foreigners60 years58 years
SB Presidents65 years64 years

The supervisory board members of SMI companies are on average 60 years old, while the new supervisory board members are 57 years old. The SMI supervisory board members are the same age as in the previous year and when surveying began in 2010. The new SMI supervisory board members were 2 years younger the year before (55 years). The female SMI supervisory board members are 56 years old, thus 5 years younger than their male colleagues (61 years). The new female SMI supervisory board members are 53 years old; their male colleagues are 6 years old (59 years). Swiss SMI supervisory board members are 60 years old. Their foreign counterparts are also 60 years old. The supervisory board presidents of SMI companies are 65 years old, while the new presidents are 64.

Interviews

Anne-Claude Demierre

Gert De Winter

Andreas Müller

Jacques Sanche

Marco Syfrig

Fabrice Zumbrunnen

Overview of the Companies Included in the Report

CompaniesPrivate SectorGender-Diversity-Pipeline (sr2019)CompaniesPrivate SectorGender-Diversity-Pipeline (sr2019)
Aargauische Kantonalbank••
Landis+Gyr AG•••
ABB Ltd.••
••
Leclanché SA•••
ABB Schweiz AG••
••
LEM Holding SA
Addex Therapeutics Leonteq AG•••
Adecco Management & Consulting SA••
Liebherr-International AG
Adval Tech Holding AGLiechtensteinische Landesbank•••
Airopack Technology GroupLifeWatch AG
Alcon Switzerland AG••
Logitech International SA•••
Allianz Suisse Gruppe••
••
Lonza Group AG•••
Allreal Holding AG••
Luzerner Kantonalbank AG
Alpiq Holding AG••
Magazine zum Globus AG•••
Bouygues E&S InTec Schweiz AG••
Manor AG••••••
ALSO Holding AG
McDonald's Suisse Holding SA••••••
AMAG Automobil- und Motoren AGMCH Group AG
AMS AGMedartis AG
APG SGA SA••
Meier Tobler AG•••
Appenzeller Kantonalbank•••Metall Zug Gruppe•••
Arbonia AG••••••Mettler-Toledo Holding AG•••
ARYZTA AG•••Meyer Burger Technology AG•••
Ascom (Holding) AGMicarna SA•••
Autoneum Holding AG
••••••Migros-Genossenschafts-Bund••••••
A•XA Versicherungen AG••••••Mikron Holding AG•••
Axpo Holding AG••••••Mobilezone AG•••
Bachem Holding AGMobimo Holding AG•••
Bâloise-Holding••••••Molecular Partners AG
Banca dello Stato del Cantone TicinoMövenpick Holding AG••••••
Bank Cler•••Myriad Group AG
Bank Linth LLB AG•••Nestlé S.A.••••••
Banque Cantonale de Fribourg•••Nidwaldner Kantonalbank•••
Banque Cantonale de GenèveNovartis AG••••••
Banque Cantonale du Jura AGObwaldner Kantonalbank•••
Banque Cantonale NeuchâteloiseOC Oerlikon Corporation AG•••
Banque Cantonale Vaudoise AGOctapharma AG
Banque Profil de Gestion SAOrascom Development Holding AG
Barry Callebaut AG•••Orell Füssli Holding AG
Basellandschaftliche KantonalbankOrior AG•••
Basilea Pharmaceutica AG•••Panalpina Welttransport (Holding) AG•••
Basler Kantonalbank•••Partners Group Holding AG•••
Basler Versicherungen••••••Peach Property Group AG
Belimo Holding AG•••Phoenix Mecano AG•••
Bell Food Group AG••••••Planzer Transport AG
Bellevue Group AGPlazza Immobilien•••
Bergbahnen Engelberg-Trübsee-Titlis AG•••Polyphor AG
Berner Kantonalbank•••PostFinance AG••••••
BFW Liegenschaften AGPricewaterhouseCoopers•••
BKW Energie AG••••••Privatklinikgruppe Hirslanden•••
BLS-Gruppe••••••PSP Swiss Property AG•••
Bobst Group•••Raiffeisen Schweiz•••
Bossard AGRehau GmbH•••
Bucher Industries AG•••Rieter Holding AG•••
Bühler AG••••••Ringier Holding AG••••
Burckhardt Compression Holding AGRolex SA
Burkhalter Holding AG••••••Romande Energie Holding SA
BVZ Holding AG•••Ronal AG
Calida Holding AGRuag Holding AG••••••
Carlo Gavazzi Holding AGSanthera Pharmaceuticals Holding AG
Cembra Money Bank AG•••SBB Cargo AG••••••
Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprüngli AG•••Schaffhauser Kantonalbank•••
Cicor Technologies GroupSchaffner Holding AG•••
Clariant AG•••Schindler (Schweiz) AG••••••
Coltène Holding AGSchindler Holding AG••••••
Comet Holding AG•••Schlatter Holding AG•••
Compagnie Financière Richemont SA•••SCHMOLZ+BICKENBACH AG••••••
Compagnie financière TraditionSchweiter Technologies AG
Coop Genossenschaft••••••Schweizerische Bundesbahnen SBB••••••
CPH Chemie + Papier Holding AG•••Schweizerische Mobiliar Versicherungsgesellschaft AG••••••
Crealogix Holding AGSchweizerische Nationalbank•••
Credit Suisse Group AG••••••Schwyzer Kantonalbank
Credit Suisse (Schweiz) AG••••••Securitas AG Schweizerische Bewachungsgesellschaft
CSS Gruppe••••••Selecta Management AG•••
Dätwyler Holding AG•••Sensirion AG
Denner AG••••••SFS Holding AG••••••
Die Schweizerische Post••••••SGS SA•••
DKSH Holding AG••••••Siegfried Holding AG•••
dormakaba Holding AG••••••Siemens Schweiz AG•••
Dosenbach-Ochsner AG•••Siemens Schweiz AG, Smart Infratructure•••
Dufry AG•••SIG Combibloc Services AG•••
Edisun Power Europe AGSika AG••••••
EFG International AG•••SIX Group AG••••••
Elma Electronic AGSonova Holding AG••••••
Emil Frey Gruppe•••SR Technics Group•••
Emmi AG••••••SRG SSR••••••
EMS-CHEMIE HOLDING AG•••St. Galler Kantonalbank•••
Endress + Hauser AG•••Stadler Rail AG•••
Ernst & Young AGStarrag Group Holding AG
ETA SA Manufacture Horlogère SuisseStraumann Holding AG•••
Evolva Holding AG•••Sulzer AG•••
F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG••••••Sunrise Communications AG•••
Feintool International Holding AGSuva••••••
fenaco••••••SV (Schweiz) AG••••••
Firmenich SA••••••SV Group AG••••••
Flughafen Zürich AG•••Swiss Finance & Property Investment AG•••
Forbo International SA•••Swiss International Air Lines AG••••••
Franke Holding AG••••••Swiss Life Holding••••••
Frutiger AG•••Swiss Life Schweiz••••••
Galenica AG••••••Swiss Prime Site•••
GAM Holding AGSwiss Re••••••
gategroup•••Swisscom AG••••••
Geberit AG••••••Swissport International Ltd.••••••
Generali (Schweiz) Holding AG••••••Swissquote Group Holding AG
Georg Fischer AG••••••Syngenta AG••••••
Givaudan SA•••Tamedia AG•••
Glarner KantonalbankTecan Group AG
Glas Trösch Holding AG•••Temenos Group AG
Glencore plc•••Tetra Laval Group•••
Goldbach Group AG•••The Swatch Group Ltd.•••
Graubündner KantonalbankThurgauer Kantonalbank
Groupe Minoteries SATornos SA
Gurit Holding AGTransocean Management Ltd.•••
Helsana Versicherungen AG•••Triumph International Spiesshofer & Braun
Helvetia Gruppe••••••u-blox Holding AG
HIAG Immobilien Holding AGUBS AG••••••
Highlight Event & Entertainment AGUBS Switzerland AG••••••
HOCHDORF Holding AG•••Urner Kantonalbank•••
Huber + Suhner•••Valartis Group AG
Hügli Holding AGValiant Holding AG•••
Hypothekarbank Lenzburg AGValora Holding AG••••••
IBM Schweiz AG•••VAT Group AG
Idorsia Pharmaceuticals Ltd.Vaudoise Assurances Holding SA•••
Implenia AG•••Vetropack Holding AG•••
Inficon Holding AGVifor Pharma Management AG•••
Interroll Holding AG•••Villars Holding S.A.
Intershop Holding AGVon Roll Holding AG
Investis Holding AGVontobel Holding AG•••
ISS Holding AG•••VP Bank AG•••
IVF HARTMANN AG•••VZ Holding AG•••
Jet Aviation Management AG•••Walliser Kantonalbank
JOWA AGWarteck Invest AG•••
Julius Bär Gruppe AG•••WISeKey International Holding Ltd
Jungfraubahn Holding AG•••Ypsomed Holding AG•••
Kardex AGZehnder Group AG•••
Klingelnberg AGZüblin Immobilien Holding AG
Komax Holding AG•••Zug Estates Holding AG•••
Kudelski SAZuger Kantonalbank•••
Kühne + Nagel International AG•••Zürcher Kantonalbank••••••
Kuros Biosciences AGZurich Insurance Group•••
LafargeHolcim Ltd.•••Zürich Versicherungs-Gesellschaft AG•••

Abbreviations

AGAktiengesellschaft (joint stock company)Ltd.Limited
CEOChief Executive OfficerNCCNomination and Compensation Committee
CFOChief Financial OfficerplcPublic Limited Company
EBExecutive BoardSBSupervisory Board
EUEuropean UnionSMESmall and medium-sized enterprises
HRHuman ResourcesSMISwiss Market Index
i.e.id estSPISwiss Performance Index

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