Eckhard Beger, INSEAD MBA’91J, Exhibiting at Venice Architecture Biennale 2016

Untitled attachment 00043Swiss alumnus Eckhard Beger, INSEAD MBA’91J, founder of ArteNemus, a contemporary art furniture design house is exhibiting at  “Venice Design 2016” from May through November. 

He creates award-winning unique pieces, manufactured by master craftsmen in rare wood. His show at the Palazzo Michiel (shown here) is part of the Venice Architecture Biennale 2016. If you’re visiting the event, take the opportunity to see his rare wood designs. Learn more about Eckhard Beger and his awards  here.

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Becoming a Gender Bilingual Leader Event Report

[aesop_image imgwidth=”400″ img=”” credit=”(C)INSEAD Alumni Association Switzerland” align=”left” lightbox=”on” captionposition=”left”]

In early June, the INSEAD Alumni Association of Switzerland hosted an evening conference featuring alumna Avivah Wittenberg-Cox, MBA’84, who spoke about the strategic topic of gender balancing. Afterwards Dominik Schaller, MBA 01D, Partner, Egon Zehnder Zurich, joined her at the podium for a fireside chat.

[aesop_image imgwidth=”400″ img=”” credit=”(c) INSEAD Alumni Association Switzerland” align=”left” lightbox=”on” caption=”Alexander Wyss, MBA 01D, Zurich Chapter President and head of the Real Estate Transaction Group of Baker & McKenzie in Zurich, welcomed guests and introduced the evening’s speakers.” captionposition=”left”]


There are four major shifts affecting the world around us this century, according to Wittenberg-Cox’ research: Weather (climate change), Web (the Internet’s impact on how we distribute, make and buy things), World (global multi-cultural markets) and Women (massive arrival of women in the workforce).

[aesop_image imgwidth=”400″ img=”” credit=”(c) INSEAD Alumni Association Switzerland” align=”left” lightbox=”on” caption=”Avivah Wittenberg-Cox’s consultancy 20-first helps global companies benefit from the biggest shift underway in talent and market demographics.” captionposition=”left”]

Avivah Wittenberg-Cox provided several anecdotes from her consulting work, also sharing research notes and observations with the participants. For example, addressing women is a bigger opportunity than the emerging markets of China and India. After outlining the reasons to attribute a high priority to gender bilingualism, Wittenberg-Cox, gave some strategic ideas to work with.

[aesop_image imgwidth=”400″ img=”” align=”left” lightbox=”on” caption=”After outlining the reasons to attribute a high priority to gender bilingualism, Wittenberg-Cox, gave some strategic ideas to work with.” captionposition=”left”]


[aesop_image imgwidth=”400″ img=”” credit=”(c) INSEAD Alumni Association Switzerland ” align=”left” lightbox=”on” caption=”INSEAD Alumni sharing the podium: Avivah Wittenberg Cox, and Dominik Schaller ” captionposition=”left”]


Schaller brought a practical, day to day, perspective to the topic. Some of the practical issues he highlighted were dual career and children and how to measure talent and potential.

Organizations are seeking ways to achieve concrete results in selection and promotion of executives using metrics and measurements to evaluate performance based on merit. It requires change at a high level of leadership, according to Schaller.  Even then it is difficult because in certain industries, the talent pool is 90% male, he said.

[aesop_image imgwidth=”400″ img=”” align=”left” lightbox=”on” caption=”Avivah is not only a popular speaker, consultant and coach, she is the author of several books on the topic of gender balancing and leadership. Participants received a copy of her latest book.” captionposition=”left”]

Jean Claude Biver, Swiss Watchmaking CEO Event Report

Best known for the remarkable turnaround of not one, but three, Swiss watchmaking brands (Blancpain, Omega and Hublot) Jean Claude Biver, spoke at a premium INSEAD Alumni learning event in May 2016. brands. His story is all the more remarkable because he was able to do the turnarounds working the same team and management executives for well over a decade. Read on for key takeaways and photos….

[aesop_image imgwidth=”400″ img=”” alt=”INSEAD Alumni CEO Event Jean Claude Biver” align=”left” lightbox=”on” caption=”Swiss watchmaking legend, Jean-Claude Biver, shared ideas and experience with alumni from both INSEAD and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. ” captionposition=”left”]
Entrepreneurship means being first, different, unique, and uncomfortable.
Jean Claude Biver said that he encourages his direct reports to live outside their comfort zone. And he means that mentally and literally. For example, he asks his direct reports to sleep at least once a year in their office on the floor.

You need to take risks and you will make mistakes.
When he arrived at Hublot in 2004, Biver introduced “mistakes sharing” meetings. Admitting mistakes to colleagues is part of the learning process. It is expected that you should not repeat the same mistake twice.

[aesop_image imgwidth=”400″ img=”” credit=”Graduate Institute” align=”left” lightbox=”on” caption=”The event partner was the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and it was held at the Graduate Institute’s Maison de la Paix in Geneva.” captionposition=”left”]


Stable Talented Teams
Biver’s success in watchmaking is attributed to his team and the Swiss ecosystem. He’s worked with the same group of direct reports for fifteen years, some even longer. He said that he chooses people that are better than himself in each functional area (e.g. marketing, engineering).


Switzerland: adaptable workforce and entrepreneurial
Switzerland has a lack of natural resources. It has none, which has meant that that the country has had to rely on its people and its entrepreneurship. “We have no mines, but have the biggest mining company. We have no coffee, but have the biggest coffee producer. We have no tall buildings, but have the world’s leading elevator manufacturer. We have no oceans, but have one of the world’s leading merchant marine companies.

Respect traditions but also know how to leverage new technologies

When he took over at Tag Heuer, he felt the company had strayed well above its price point. It is a midmarket, sporty brand but it was trying to compete on price in the higher end luxury segment. He repositioned the price points back to where they were consistent with the brand image, and at the same time automated much of the manufacturing, cutting costs, resulting in a great expansion of sales and profitability..

The Future of Swisswatchmaking
Very high-end, luxury watchmaking using the techniques of the 19th-century still has a strong position. He is a collector of Patek Philippes. However, the midmarket has to pay attention to its value for money and price points and move to 21st-century manufacturing techniques.

[aesop_image imgwidth=”400″ img=”” align=”left” lightbox=”on” caption=”Alumni gathered for refreshments and networking after the presentation” captionposition=”left”]

Swiss Alumnus to Chair INSEAD Capital Campaign

INSEAD’s board recently approved the appointment of Rémy Best MBA’93D to chair a future capital campaign.

“With this dedicated focus and effort, we intend to equip INSEAD with the resources it needs to set the highest standards for innovation and excellence in business education…”

Andreas Jacobs MBA’90D, Chairman Board of Directors at INSEAD

INSEAD is currently charting a course that will require new capital. The school has had only three such campaigns in its history. The campaign launch is expected in 2018. It will be led by Rémy Best MBA’93D, managing partner of the Pictet Group and former chair of INSEAD’s Endowment Management Committee. Read more about what the INSEAD board aims to achieve here…