Urs Baumann

Urs Baumann has been CEO of Zürcher Kantonalbank since September 2022. He brings extensive experience in national
and international management positions, having served as a Supervisory Board member, group CEO, Managing Director, and Partner. He started his career in 1993 as a
consultant at McKinsey & Company in Zurich. From 1998 on, he gained professional experience in the financial and banking sector at Swisscard in Horgen, Barclays Bank plc in London, Lindorff Group in Oslo, and Bellevue Group AG in Küsnacht. In 2015, he co-founded Blue Earth Capital AG in Zug, where he served as CEO until March 2022. Urs Baumann holds a Master of Arts degree from the University of St. Gallen and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He serves as a Supervisory Board
member of the Swiss Bankers Association, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Association of Swiss Cantonal Banks, and as a member of the Executive Committee of the
Zurich Economic Society.

«The principles of sustainability are integrated into our strategy and throughout our business activities»

What trends do you see in how leadership is evolving in the age of digitization, artificial intelligence, increasing individualization among employees, and agility?
I see three major topics here. First of all, empowerment: transferring responsibility and autonomy to employees is a central success factor and a basic requirement for agility, both today and in the future. Secondly, trust is crucial – especially with an increase in remote work, leadership models need to operate without on-site «control». Thirdly, continuous development and challenge of employees are key trends. With digitization and artificial intelligence, the half-life of knowledge has become much shorter,
and roles are changing much faster than before. Therefore, it is crucial to continuously train oneself and remain open to change.

Currently, companies are meeting the gender guidelines with 30% female representation in the Supervisory Boards and 20% in the Executive Boards. From your perspective, what is next in the generational project of gender diversity after reaching this milestone?
It is encouraging to see the numbers slowly increasing; however, Switzerland still lags behind internationally in this regard. My wish would be that gender balance – and more broadly, diversity and inclusion – become a matter of course

The share of women in your Executive Board is still below the required minimum. What measures have you taken in response to this?
To sustainably increase the share of women in the Executive Board, we first need to expand the number of women in senior management roles – thus broadening the «pipeline» of potential female candidates. I must be self-critical here: we are not yet where we want to be, although we are heading in the right direction. Therefore, we have decided to set specific targets for gender diversity in leadership roles. By 2026, we aim to achieve a 20% share of women at the middle management and a 30% representation at the third management level. When it comes to junior staff, the aim is to train as many women as men.

According to our surveys, the women who left their Executive Board positions last year only remained in office 3 years. What measures has your company taken to ensure a high retention of female managers?
In general, we enjoy low turnover rates – this applies to both female and male employees across all management levels. Specifically, the retention rate for our female executives is particularly high. How do we achieve this? Primarily through our good working atmosphere, characterized by mutual respect – regardless of hierarchical position. Additionally, we offer family-friendly working conditions and a mentoring program, seminars, memberships, and networking events. We have an internal women’s network with the motto «Inspire, discuss, advance», and hold a gold membership with Advance – Gender Equality in Business. We are also an active supporter of the «Fondsfrauen».

We have observed that the average age in the Executive Board is increasing. How do you assess this trend?
I cannot speak for other Executive Boards. At Zürcher Kantonalbank, however, the Executive Board has become younger on average in recent years – as part of our long-term succession planning.

The ecological footprint of Swiss companies is large. How important is sustainability in your company and how have ecological considerations changed the focus of your corporate strategy?
Sustainability is an integral part of our statutory performance mandate; it is part of our DNA. The principles of sustainability are integrated into our strategy and throughout our business activities. We have set ourselves the goal of contributing to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 – in our own banking operations, we want to achieve net zero by 2030 at the latest. We develop products and services that help our customers to achieve a positive sustainability impact in their business activities.