Corporate management

Switzerland's Exec Exodus

Who wouldn't want to work by Lake Geneva?
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Swiss firms are becoming less attractive to high-flying foreign executives, potentially making them less competitive.

  • Facts


    • Switzerland has long boasted big international companies with high salaries and low taxes.
    • But in the first quarter of this year, more people emigrated from Switzerland than immigrated to it.
    • Of the 20 companies on Switzerland’s blue-chip stock index, only one is led by a German.
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When Ulf Schneider received the offer to become head of Swiss food giant Nestlé, a negative answer was never an option.

“You only get a chance like this once in life,” said Mr. Schneider, who for many years chaired the management board at Fresenius, the German health company. He didn’t hesitate to say yes.

In September the 50-year-old will start familiarizing himself with the far-reaching operations of Nestlé. In January he will take over the top position from Paul Bulcke. Waiting for Mr. Schneider in the six-story, glass-walled company headquarters in Vevey is an office with a view of Lake Geneva.

The quality of life there is high and Nestlé has one of the best corporate reputations in the world. No wonder that Mr. Schneider was happy to move to the Alps.

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