It is not always plain sailing being Swiss. Practically every country on the planet whines about your bank-secrecy laws. You have been in a landlocked country in the middle of the continent for generations, yet you are not a European citizen. And when a crisis breaks out around the globe, everyone goes shopping for your currency, making it all powerful and taking the steam out of your export-based economy.
Whilst speaking at the Swiss Economic Forum in Interlaken in May this year, Swiss Economy Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann called on the country’s business elite to “learn to live” with the strong franc and become more innovative.
But the country has already made a name for itself in the field and that not only with its 60 technology parks and high-octane research institutions like the EPFL and ETH. Swiss-made products and services still have clout in the market. Take Victorinox, the subject of our leading article. The over 125-year-old company is now more than just a producer of the Swiss Army Knife thanks to the current CEO Carl Elsener, the founder’s great grandson, and it has become exemplary for its sustainable HR policies. Even news made in Switzerland – see the article on swissinfo.ch, p. 20 – has a long track record of quality and independence.
There is more: The Swiss furniture chain Pfister Möbel is planning to increase its customer base in part with some new Swiss design, and Estée Lauder Switzerland CEO Goetz Winter spoke to Swiss Style about the challenges of the local market. But is everything Swiss made really made in Switzerland? It’s not all that clear, apparently, as our editor-at-large, Marton Radkai, found out when he started asking about the draft law on Swissness, which has been in the making for five years now.
At any rate, Walter Häusermann, who took the reins at the wedding-band specialists Furrer-Jacot in Schaffhausen, feels that being even more Swiss is the best way to stay on a successful course. Speaking of jewels … they have many facets. But writer Lauriane Zonco discovered why some people are willing to spend eight-digit sums for famous collections.
A broad-range edition of Swiss Style awaits you, with the story of two painters, a look at green buildings in Geneva, and even a guest essay by Marcos Troyjo on the challenges and opportunities facing the BRIC nations, in particular B for Brazil.
This brings me to a final note: One of the few perks in my job is to be exposed to ideas for growth in Swiss Style’s own operations. The many decision-makers who have been featured in our pages over the years are an inspiration, of course, so I decided to follow their lead and tap the markets in emerging economies. Consequently, I am happy to announce the official opening of our joint venture in Rio de Janeiro, a city full of even more optimism and energy than ever.
More in our upcoming issues…
John François Béguin