WHO IS WHO
Biographies of Participants
Elsa Abreu is an Ambizione fellow at ETH Zürich, and a former ETH postdoctoral fellow. Her work focuses on understanding the behavior and dynamics of complex condensed matter systems using ultrafast laser sources. A deeper insight into the fundamental behavior of these highly versatile materials is essential to improve and diversify their engineering applications. Elsa’s position in Zurich follows a Ph.D. in Boston and a master’s in Uppsala, Sweden. This international experience has expanded her scientific and cultural background well beyond the influence of her Portuguese and French roots. Discovering new cultural and societal behaviors through travels, readings, music, and simply through experiencing life in different beautiful and vibrant cities, has been a constant and fascinating complement to Elsa’s scientific career.
Carole Ackermann is CEO and co-founder of Diamondscull AG, a company investing in early stage companies in the technology/ICT field. She is President of EHL (Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne), independent member of different boards such as Allianz Suisse, BNP Paribas Suisse, BKW, BVZ Holding and the Bern-based innovation agency be-advanced. Carole holds a PhD in marketing from the University of St. Gallen where she is senior lecturer for business administration. Prior, she had senior roles in international consulting and machine industry companies. As Unit Head Medical and GM China she worked closely with Private Equity Investors in a global company in surface technology before she joined a medical start-up in ophthalmology, as CEO. Besides her business career, Carole has a passion for rowing and offshore sailing.
Lukas Ackermann is Chief IT & Digital Services Officer and Member of the Executive Committee of the Galenica Group since 2022. Lukas started off his career as Product Manager at Helsana Insurance Company Ltd and then became Deputy Head of Product Management (1999 – 2002). In 2002, he was appointed CEO of Medicall Ltd. Afterwards, he became Head of Health Care Market at Synesix Ltd (2008 – 2010). The two following years, Lukas was Head of I-Lab at the University of St.Gallen, and from 2013 to 2020 he was General Manager / CEO of amétiq Ltd. Before Lukas became Head of IT & Digital Services at Galenica Ltd at the Galenica Group in 2021, he was Managing Director of HCI Solutions Ltd. He obtained a Diploma in Natural Sciences from Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich and has a MAS MTEC from the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich.
Nick Adamus is the founder and CEO of Swiss Dragon Group Ltd. in Hong Kong and Switzerland, an active investor and advisor to founders and start-ups, helping them to shape their business and grow to the next level. Through 2016 he was the COO for Asia Pacific at Credit Suisse, responsible for Regional IT, Operations, Change Management, Controls, HR, Communications and Philanthropy. Other positions at Credit Suisse since his joining in 2005 comprised Head of Securities Trading and Sales Switzerland, Head of One Bank Collaboration and Global Head of Corporate Development, including Strategy and Corporate M+A. Before that, Nick was a Partner at McKinsey and Company, where he had worked for 12 years, mainly in Zurich as well as New York and San Francisco. He predominantly served Global Financial Institutions as well as Industrial Clients in a Corporate Finance context. Nick holds a Master’s Degree in Economics from the University of Zurich and an M.B.A. with Distinction from INSEAD and speaks five languages. Nick lives with his wife and their two children in Zurich and Hong Kong, is an avid wine collector, a passionate cyclist and loves traveling with his family. His multiple further interests comprise contemporary arts, new technologies (e.g., fin tech), philanthropy, as well as building businesses and bridges between Europe and Asia.
Daniel Aegerter is founder and chairman of Armada Investment AG, which he established as his family office organization after the successful merger of his B2B software company, TRADEX Technologies, with Ariba for USD5.6 billion in March 2000. Armada manages the diversified, public and entrepreneurial investments of the Aegerter family. Since starting his first company at age 18 (although still an apprentice at Swiss Bank Corp.), Daniel has been passionate about entrepreneurial activities. He has unique investing and entrepreneurial experience on both sides of the Atlantic. Daniel’s first business venture was the import and distribution of Macintosh peripherals. Besides his business career, Daniel is a passionate polo player.
Heike Allgayer is the Department Head of Experimental Surgery and Cancer Metastasis, and Vice Director of the Centre for Biomedicine and Medical Technology (CBTM), at the Mannheim Medical Faculty of Ruprecht-Karls-University of Heidelberg, Germany. She received her MD and Dr. med. (summa cum laude) at Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich in 1995/1996, and her PhD (in molecular biology) at the University of Houston-MD Anderson Cancer Center in 1999. As a board-certified surgeon and molecular biologist she sees her mission in bridging basic research and the treatment of cancer patients as a dedicated translational researcher. Her major research interests include molecular determinants defining metastasis, microRNAs in metastasis, molecular determinants of response to novel therapeutics, metastasis prevention, translational metastasis research, and molecular staging of cancer. Her many well-received publications have received 23 scientific awards, including the Research Award of the Alfried-Krupp-von-Bohlen-und-Halbach-Foundation (one of the highest (1 million Euro), most prestigious and competitive research awards in Germany), the Langenbeck and Sauerbruch Research Award, the Young Investigator Award of the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR), and the Research Award of the Ingrid zu Solms-Foundation, for which she currently serves as the Chair of the Fellowship of the Awardees. She is active member of, e.g., the AACR (also as member of the AACR Surgical Oncology Task Force and Program Committee for the AACR Annual Meeting 2017), ASCO, and EACR (serving as Council Member and Ambassador representing Germany), Member of the EORTC Advisory Board for Translational Research, and Associate Editor of the International Journal of Cancer, amongst other editorial appointments. In 2017, she became elected as a Fellow of the European Academy of Cancer Sciences (EACS).
Kathrin Amacker is Board President of Fairtrade Max Havelaar and Board Member of Basel University and Merian Iselin Medical Clinic. Before, Kathrin was Member of the Executive Management Board of Swiss Federal Railways SBB (2013-20) and Telecom Operator Swisscom (2010-13), responsible for Communications, Politics and Corporate Social Responsibility. Kathrin has been politically active for many years, serving as a Member of Parlament at the National Council of Switzerland, as Board Member of the Swiss Christian Democratic Party and still today as President of the Association Regio Basiliensis. In her early career, Kathrin was as pharmacist with PHD at Ciba-Geigy and Novartis a Project Manager in Production and Development, Head of Diversity in Human Resources, President of the Employee Representation Council and Vice President of the Pension Fund Trustees.
Thomas Amstutz is President and CEO of Feldschlösschen, the biggest brewer and beverage company in Switzerland. With 11 own brands and its own logistic setup, Feldschlösschen is a key driver of pioneering innovations for the retail and the gastronomy segments. Since 2000 Feldschlösschen has belonged to the Carlsberg Group, the fourth biggest brewer of the world. Thomas has an extensive FMCG and leadership background. After some years in Unilever, he joined Hero, where the entrepreneurial spirit and branded mindset strongly influenced him. He is passionate about branded businesses and was given the opportunity to manage the biggest brewer in France as its president and CEO during four years. As a member of the Stifungsrat Schweizer Sporthilfe, Thomas actively supports young sport talents in Switzerland to get the necessary funding. He enjoys spending time with his family and friends and loves playing tennis and Golf.
Marilyne Andersen has a background in physics and has been working at the interface between architecture and engineering throughout her academic career. Her research and consulting activities focus on building performance through the use and optimization of daylight. She works on a wide range of subjects, including visual and thermal comfort, tools for early stage design, circadian photoreception and health, and advanced facade technologies for daylight redistribution. Marilyne has a Master of Science in Physics, a PhD in Building Physics from EPFL, and has been a scholar at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab as well as Assistant then Associate Professor tenure-track at MIT before joining EPFL as faculty member. She is a Full Professor of Sustainable Construction Technologies and Head of the Laboratory of Integrated Performance in Design (LIPID) at EPFL. She co-founded the OCULIGHT dynamics startup, is member of the Board of the LafargeHolcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction and has been Dean of ENAC, the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering at EPFL, from 2013 to 2018.
Simon Anholt has advised the Heads of State and Heads of Government of over 60 nations to help them balance their duties towards their own people and territory with their shared responsibility for humanity and the planet. In 2014 Simon launched the Good Country Index, an annual study measuring the impact of each of 163 countries on the rest of humanity and the planet. His TED talk launching the first edition of the GCI is the all-time most viewed TED talk on the topic of Government, with over 12 million views. He is also the founder and publisher of the annual Anholt-Ipsos Nation Brands Index and City Brands Index, which use a panel of 30,000 people in 20 countries to monitor perceptions of 60 countries and 50 cities. Simon was Vice-Chair of the UK Foreign Office’s Public Diplomacy Board between 2000 and 2009. He is Founding Editor Emeritus of the quarterly journal, Place Branding and Public Diplomacy. His books include Brand New Justice (Macmillan 2003), Brand America, (Cyan Books 2004, 2009); Competitive Identity, (Palgrave Macmillan 2007); Places, (Palgrave Macmillan 2010) and The Good Country Equation, (Berrett-Koehler 2020). Simon has a Master’s Degree from the University of Oxford and studied international relations and security studies at the Royal College of Defence Studies. He was appointed Honorary Professor in Political Science by the University of East Anglia in 2013.
Jonas Anker is the founder and CEO of Anker Capital, a Zug-based startup which offers services in the area of corporate finance.
Dame Tessy Antony de Nassau is an award winning Social Entrepreneur, Business Woman, Philanthropist, UNAids Ambassador, Public Speaker, Activist, Medial Doctorate and PHD candidate and mother. Tessy is the Founder of ‘Finding Butterflies Consultancy Ltd’, a strategic communication firm which aims to be supporting governments, institutions and business leaders in Impact projects, educational campaigns, women inclusion, and conference attendance and organisation. Tessy is also an associate at LSEideas at the London School of Economics a global recognised educational institution in London. Tessy is also the Co-Founder of an investment vehicle which focuses on tech startups and renewable energies. Her commitments to education can be seen in her Charity, Professors Without Borders where she holds the title as President and Co-Founder– that brings top-level educators and global experts to the doorsteps of students worldwide, in order to develop talent. Moreover, Tessy is an ambassador for UNAIDS (Global Advocate for Young Women and Adolescent Girls) and is the patron to UNA-UK along with the creator of the UN Millennial goals Lord Malloch Brown. In the past, She spent five years in the Luxembourg military, during which she was deployed in Kosovo as a peacekeeper and only woman of her draft. Tessy is working on her medical doctorate and phd in integrative medicine at the moment. Tessy is the Co-Founder of the sustainable fashion brand called Human Highness. After an impeccable educational journey Tessy decided to put theory into practice. She actively promotes a number of issues, including global health and women’s rights. She is passionate about pushing her different agendas to benefit the Sustainable Development Goals and has committed her time and energy to furthering the work of organisations in which she believes in. Moreover, she is actively committed to strengthening basic human rights for all and empowering young women and adolescent girls around the world. She got bestowed the Dame Grand Cross of Order of Adolphe of Nassau from HRH Grand Duc Henri of Luxembourg. Moreover, she received the Woman of the Decade award from the Women Economic Forum in January 2017, the Humanities medal for spreading humanistic ideas worldwide and the Global Empowerment Award for her work in Africa. She was named “Leader of the Year 2019” by the Leadership Academy in Luxembourg. Tessy received her Honorary Doctorate for her work in and around education globally by the Paris College of Arts in May 2019. Tessy has been awarded with other distinctions for her work, namely the Freedom of the City of London (as the first female Luxembourgish citizen in all its history), the NATO Medal of recognition for her Deployment to Kosovo, as well as the United Nations Peacekeeping Medal (also in recognition for her deployment to Kosovo).
Naomi Arita Merino is a Mexican Food Scientist, who has focused her career on the field of Lipid Science and Technology. After receiving her PhD at Wageningen University, Naomi was awarded a Schmidt Science Fellowship, which is allowing her to pivot her research to Microalgal Biotechnology. At the Sustainable Food Processing lab at ETH Zurich, Naomi is using a multidisciplinary approach to explore microalgae as a sustainable and nutritious source of food.
Christiano Arnhold Simões started his professional career as a business consultant but soon realised that entrepreneurship was his true professional inclination. Christiano has founded and co-founded different enterprises, and he currently holds non-exec roles in companies located in Europe, Middle East, Asia and Latin America. Aware of the importance of Impact Investing, Christiano is an active investor in Fintech, Braintech, and Agritech. All of those investments take into consideration financial inclusions, sustainability and fair trade. When not overseeing his businesses or family estates, he engages in his true passions: teaching and learning.
Jörg Arnold is the General Manager of the Hotel Storchen, Widder and Alex in Zurich, Switzerland. He is also on the board of the Hotel Management School in Lausanne (EHL), Swiss Tourism and Swiss Hotel Association, and is the Vice President of the Zurich Tourism Office.
Andreas Arntzen is Chairman and Spokesman of the Management Board of Wort & Bild Verlag. He worked for the Swiss NZZ media group and was managing director of the ZEIT publishing group, the Handelsblatt publishing group and the Madsack media group. In these functions he was responsible for well-known national and regional print publications as well as various electronic media in the areas of Internet, TV and radio. Andreas is a member of the advisory board of Augsburger Allgemeine, advisory board member at projecttogether.org and foundation mentor of the Nicolaidis YoungWings Stiftung. In addition, Andreas is founder and partner of several digital companies such as Parship, apploft, radio.de, etc. Andreas won several German and international titles as a hockey Bundesliga and national player. He is married and has two children.
Stefanos Athanasiou (born in Germany) has studied Theology at the Universities of Munich and Thessaloniki. After gaining his PhD in Theology (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki), he worked as a Lecturer (Orthodox Dogmatic and Ethics) at the University of Bern and as a Guest Lecturer at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and the Theological College of Chur. Since 2017 he is Lecturer at the Theological study year of Dormitio in Jerusalem, since 2018 Guest Lecturer at the Theological Faculty of Fribourg and since 2019 Guest Lecturer at the Theological Faculty of Bonn. 2018 he past successfully a PostDoc Thesis at the Faculty of Theology in Thessaloniki. Since September 2019 he is Visiting Scholar at the Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine at the University of Zurich. He is Geek Orthodox Priest in the Metropolis of Switzerland.
Artur Avila Cordeiro de Melo is a Brazilian and French mathematician working primarily on dynamical systems and spectral theory. He is one of the winners of the 2014 Fields Medal, being the first Latin American to win such award. He is a researcher at both the IMPA and the CNRS (working a half-year in each one). At the age of 16, Artur won a gold medal at the 1995 International Mathematical Olympiad and received a scholarship for the Instituto Nacional de Matemática Pura e Aplicada (IMPA) to M.S., all while still attending high school in Colégio de São Bento and Colégio Santo Agostinho in Rio de Janeiro. Later he enrolled in the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), earning his B.S in mathematics. At the age of 19, Artur began making his doctoral thesis on the theory of dynamical systems. In 2001 he finished it and received his PhD from IMPA. That same year he moved abroad to France to do postdoctoral research. He works with one-dimensional dynamics and holomorphic functions. Since 2003 he has worked as a researcher for the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in France, later becoming a research director in 2008. His post-doctoral supervisor was Jean-Christophe Yoccoz. In 2005, at age 26, Artur became known amongst mathematicians for proving the “Conjecture of the ten martinis”, a problem proposed in 1980 by the American mathematical physicist Barry Simon. Simon promised to pay ten martini doses to whoever explained his theory about the behavior of “Schrödinger operators”, mathematical tools related to quantum physics. Artur solved the problem along with mathematician Svetlana Jitomirskaya, and was rewarded with a few rounds of martini.
Stefanie Bailer is professor of political science at the University of Basel. In her research she investigates decision-making and negotiations of governments and parliamentarians in the international and national political arena. Stefanie analyses which negotiation strategies and power resources lead to success in international negotiations. Next to that, she is currently investigating the various career paths of parliamentarians in Europe and the question whether career changers stand a chance to enter parliament and which factors influence political success during and after the parliamentary mandate. She spends her free time with her family (three sons) and some sports.
Nadine Balkanyi-Nordmann is the founder and CEO of Lexperience AG, a lawfirm which specialises in legal, compliance and regulatory services predominantly in the financial services industry. Her main focus areas are compliance management systems, anti-money-laundering, internal and regulatory investigations as well as data privacy. Lexperience employs over 30 professionals. Nadine leads the audit committee and is a member of the board of directors of Sanitas Health Insurance. She furthermore chairs the board of a Swiss tech company. Nadine Balkanyi is a Swiss attorney with an LL.M. Degree of the University of Hong Kong and an arbitration education as FCIArb. Nadine worked in international companies in senior roles in Hong Kong, UK, US and Switzerland.
Dennis André Ballwieser is a journalist focusing on medicine, public health, science and ethics. Dennis holds a managing editorial position with Wort & Bild Verlag, Baierbrunn near Munich, publisher of Germany’s leading magazine “Apotheken Umschau” (translates to Pharmacist’s Review). Dennis is responsible for all editorial content of Wort & Bild Verlag’s publications, digital and print. Before Wort & Bild, Dennis was part of the health desk team Spiegel Online, Germany’s leading news website. He is a physician and worked as an anesthetist at Ludwig-Maximilans-Universität München‘s University hospital in Munich, Germany. Dennis received his M. D. from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München in Munich, Germany, and was trained as a journalist at Deutsche Journalistenschule (German School of Journalism) in Munich, Germany.
Nenad Ban is a professor of structural molecular biology at ETH Zurich. He was educated at the University of Zagreb and continued with his studies at the University of California at Riverside and at Yale. There, working in the laboratory of Thomas Steitz, he revealed that ribosomes synthesize proteins according to genetic information using RNA in their active site, a discovery that had broad implications for understanding the role of RNA in the origin of life. Since 2000, Nenad is a professor of Structural Molecular Biology at the ETH Zurich. Research in his group on eukaryotic ribosomes and their functional complexes provided ground-breaking insights towards understanding protein synthesis in all kingdoms of life. Nenad an is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, EMBO, the German Academy of Sciences and recipient of several prizes. Nenad is married to Eilika Weber-Ban, also a professor at the ETH Zurich, and they have two sons, Arvid and Ivo, who were born in Switzerland.
Raymond J. Bär has been Chairman of the Board of Alpine Select Ltd in Zug since 2013. In 2014, he became Member of the Board of AMAG Group Ltd in Zurich. Since 2015, he has been Chairman of the Board of BENECARE Foundation in Vaduz, Vice-Chairman of the Foundation Board of Asia Society of Switzerland and Chairman of the Board of Longbow Finance in Lutry. He was Member of the Board of Crypto Finance Group in Zug from 2017 to 2021. In 2018, he was appointed Member of the Board of GSI Global Strategic Investments Ltd. In 2021 he joined the supervisory board of Lake Star SPAC 1. In addition, he has been Honorary Chairman of the Julius Baer Group since 2012, over which he presided from 2003 to 2012.
Rudolf Bär worked as a freelance collaborator at the black hole group of Prof. Kevin Schawinski at the Institute for Particle Physics and Astrophysics at ETH Zurich. From 1969 to 2005 he worked at the private bank, Julius Baer Group Ltd. in Zurich, which is quoted at the Zurich Stock Exchange since 1981. He was CEO from 1993 to 2000 and was a member of the Board of Directors until 2005, when the family gave up control. After studying electrical engineering at ETH and completing an MBA at the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration in 1964, he worked in Zurich and Brussels for the Dow Corning Corporation. He has travelled extensively to remote locations like the sources of the Orinoco River, where he visited the Yanomami tribes, or to Papua New Guinea and its indigenous people.
Roman Bargezi is member of the Ringier Governing Board where he represents the 6th family generation. In the last 30 years, Roman held positions in IT and has been on the board of Infonic AG, a Fintech company specializing in solutions for the alternative markets. Further, he is Executive Director of the family office RIBALI AG and since 2020 member of the Governing Board of Ringier Art & Immobilien AG.
David Basin is a full professor at ETH Zurich where he leads the Information Security group. He is the founding director of the ZISC, the Zurich Information Security Center, which he led from 2003-2011. He is Editor-in-Chief of the ACM Transactions on Privacy and Security and of Springer-Verlag’s book series on Information Security and Cryptography. He has co-founded three security companies, is on the board of directors of Anapaya Systems AG as well as various management and scientific advisory boards, and has consulted extensively for IT companies and government organizations. He is an ACM Fellow and IEEE Fellow.
Christoph Bauer is the CEO of DuMont, based in Cologne, Germany. Christoph has German and Swiss citizenship, and is married to Sari Katriina Bauer with whom he lives in Cologne and Zurich. Christoph holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration, and studied at University of Mannheim, Arizona State University and University of Oldenburg. Since the advent of the Internet in the mid-1990s, he has been a pioneer in the digitization of media companies and business models of all genres right from the start. Against this background, Christoph has over 20 years of change management experience in the media industry with executive positions at Bertelsmann, NZZ, Ringier, AZ Medien. Since October 2013 he has been Group CEO of DuMont, a leading media company in Germany with its foundation going back to 1620. On his spare time, Christoph enjoys outdoor actives such as biking in the mountains and watersports. He is a music lover with focus on contemporary jazz and independent labels. Christoph, well-travelled and interested in the world’s cultural diversity, speaks apart from German and English also Spanish, French and Italian.
Urs Baumann is the designated CEO of Zürcher Kantonalbank (ZKB), Switzerland’s third largest bank with CHF 360 billion of clients’ assets under management. He is co-founder and CEO of Blue Earth Capital (formerly known as PG Impact Investments), a global impact investment firm backed by Partners Group. He is the former CEO of Bellevue Group, an independent financial group domiciled in Küsnacht. He is also owner and founder of 3Horizons, which he established as his investment company in 2010 after the successful sale of Lindorff Group, one of Europe’s leading credit management companies. He started his first venture at the age of 21 and later became the founder and CEO of Swisscard AECS, which he built from scratch to Switzerland’s leading credit card company. Urs holds a Master degree from University of St. Gallen and a MBA from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. He is active as a social entrepreneur and likes outdoor sports, traveling, and riding his Harley.
James Beacham searches for answers to the biggest open questions of physics using the largest experiment ever, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. He hunts for dark matter, gravitons, quantum black holes, and dark photons as a member of the ATLAS collaboration, one of the teams that discovered the Higgs boson in 2012. In addition to his research, he is a frequent keynote speaker about science, innovation, the future of technology, and art at events and venues around the world (with a sizable following on TikTok), including the American Museum of Natural History, the Royal Institution, SXSW, the Guggenheim Bilbao, and the BBC, as well as private events for companies and corporations, including KPMG, Bain, Dept Agency, and many others. His talk, “How we explore unanswered questions in physics”, was featured on TED.com and has been viewed more than 1.6 million times. He appears in television shows (Discovery, BBC, etc.), on podcasts, on radio shows (such as NPR’s Science Friday), and in documentaries (such as 2019’s Chasing Einstein), and has been featured in The New York Times, Wired, and Gizmodo, among others. James trained as a filmmaker before becoming a physicist and regularly collaborates with artists. In 2015 he launched Ex/Noise/CERN, a project exploring the connections between particle physics and experimental music, film, and art.
Andrea Bekić is the Ambassador to Switzerland at the Republic of Croatia.
Vesna Bengin is the co-founder of the BioSense Institute and the coordinator of H2020 project ANTARES, which, with a budget of € 30 million, aims to evolve BioSense into a European Centre of research excellence. Besides developing institutional scientific excellence, Vesna also directly focuses on fostering the economic growth of the region, as well as on the development of the national policies in the field of research and innovation. Vesna is a scientific advisor at BioSense, a full professor at the Depart. of Physics, University of Novi Sad and an Extraordinary Professor at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. She also serves as a member of UNICEF Business Advisory Board in Serbia, a consultant for UN FAO, and a consultant for UNDP. She is a mother of three children. Vesna was a speaker at the inaugural WORLD.MINDS Belgrade in 2019.
Cleo Bertelsmeier is a biologist and assistant professor at the department of ecology and evolution at the University of Lausanne. Her research is about globalization, climate change and the spread of invasive species. She is also the author of a book on conflicts in ant societies (“Les guerres secrètes des fourmis”, Ed. Favre 2019).
Mark Bidwell is an investor and board member. Originally trained as an anthropologist, over the past 30 years he has worked in the oil industry, professional services and agribusiness, in a variety of marketing and leadership roles. He is founder of OutsideLens and special advisor to the Seychelles Islands Foundation, as well as a Freeman of the City of London and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. Mark lives in the Swiss Alps with his family and loves mountain sports.
Kipper Blakeley is the Chief of Staff and Producer at WORLD.MINDS. In this capacity, he runs the operations of WORLD.MINDS, including all of its physical and virtual events throughout the year, and is the Managing Editor of the WORLD.MINDS Magazine. Kipper Blakeley is originally from Boston but, after traveling to over 90 countries (and living in 6 of them), decided to settle down in Switzerland over a decade ago. He lives at a lake in eastern Switzerland with his wife and son.
Philippe Blatter is President & CEO of Infront, a leading global sports events, marketing and media company. Infront’s purpose is to unite people in sport with emotions, dreams and passion. It accomplishes this by delivering 4,100 event days per year in 25 sports for more than 200 rights holders with a 1,000-strong team in 40+ offices in 14 countries around the world. In 2015, Chinese conglomerate Wanda Group acquired Infront and appointed Philippe as Vice-Chairman of the Wanda Sports Group (which was listed at NASDAQ on July 26, 2019), consisting of Infront, the iconic triathlon brand IRONMAN and Wanda Sports China. Before joining Infront in 2005, Philippe spent 11 years at McKinsey&Co. He left McKinsey in 2005 as Partner. He also served as a board member of the non-profit organization Right To Play Switzerland for more than 10 years. Philippe holds a Master of Science degree from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH) and an MBA degree from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston, USA. Philippe is married, has twin boys and is a passionate triathlete having finished 18 full IRONMAN races to date.
Lukas Böcker is a food technologist and postdoctoral researcher in Sustainable Food Processing at ETH Zurich. The group led by Prof. Alexander Mathys focuses on a system-oriented approach to realize biomass and energy use efficiency, significant waste reduction along food value chains as well as healthy and high quality food production. Lukas’ research interest tackles microalgae proteins and enabling this innovative high potential raw material. Prior to his doctoral studies, he explored the Ecuadorian meat industry and the Consulting industry.
Peter E. Bodmer is Chairman and CEO of BEKA GROUP, which is a family owned group of companies active in private equity, real estate investment services and international business development. Peter has over 20 years of experience in various management positions in national and international industrial, construction and real estate companies. He is non- executive board member of various listed and non-listed companies. Beside his business career, Peter is a passionate sailor.
Angela Bonato is currently a PhD candidate at ETH Zurich and a member of the Young Scientists of the Swiss Society of Biomaterials and Regenerative Medicine. Her work is focused on osteoarthritis research, especially on regeneration of damaged cartilage by means of gene editing and tissue engineering. She earned her BSc and MSc at University of Padova in Molecular Biology and Medical Biotechnology. She is now a member of a multi-disciplinary group that spans from chemistry to engineering, from which she can learn mindsets and techniques. She is a curious, motivation-driven person who is always open to new discoveries. Her long term goals after the PhD are to found her own start-up to replace plastic through living organisms. She loves challenges and outdoor sports, especially hiking and paragliding, often combined.
Nadine Borter is CEO and owner of the advertising agency Contexta, which has evolved into one of Switzerland’s leading communication agencies since its founding in 1968. Nadine, the 2011 Advertiser of the Year and president of bsw swiss leading agencies, has established her reputation with successful campaigns for Appenzeller cheese, SBB, Bank-now, CSS, Swiss Lotto, Swisscom, and Vaudoise, among others.
Martin Bosshardt is CEO of Anapaya Systems. He studied at ETH Zurich and in Todai University in Tokyo. He has a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH). After completing his studies, Martin worked as an IC lead engineer for ABB in Switzerland and abroad. In 1998 Martin was appointed to the management of Futurecom Interactive, the leading corporate consultants for digital communication, with responsibility for consultancy. In 2001 he joined Open Systems as its CEO. In 2011, Martin was awarded with the SVC Entrepreneurs Award. Since 2013 he has been a member of the Advisory Board of PwC Switzerland. Open Systems was sold in 2017 to EQT private Equity to further grow the company. After two years of transforming the company from owner-led to PE-driven, Martin successfully handed over his role as a CEO and is now board member of Open Systems. In 2021 he was appointed as the new CEO of Anapya Systems AG, an ETH startup upgrading and revolutionizing today’s internet protocol. He is active in several boards and helps, among other startups, the Westhive Coworking on their high growth journey as its chairman.
Christoph Brand is CEO of Axpo Group, an energy group operating in over 30 countries, generating around CHF 5bn revenue with over 5000 employees. Axpo focuses on trading, producing and retailing of energy and energy services, is generating mostly CO2-free power and is Switzerland’s largest renewable energy producer. In addition, Christoph serves as a member of the supervisory board of the publicly listed German Classifieds company Scout24. Previously, he was CEO of TX Markets, running the entire marketplace business of the TX Group, formerly known as Tamedia. In this role, he was chairman or member of the board of a number of companies held partially or fully by TX Markets, such as Homegate, Jobs, Ricardo, Tutti and others. Before that, he was CEO and shareholder of Adcubum AG, a strongly growing, privately held leading software company. From 2006 to 2010, he was CEO of Sunrise Communications, the largest private telecom operator in Switzerland, which he turned around to make it the fastest-growing operator in Switzerland in terms of revenue and profitability. Before that, he was chief strategy officer of Swisscom, restructured the national and international wireline network unit of Swisscom and, from 1998 to 2002, built up Bluewin to become the biggest internet and portal service provider in Switzerland. Christoph is married and father to two sons.
Tobias Braun is the Chief Financial Officer and Member of the Management Board of German-based Benteler Steel/Tube. Prior to this he was a Partner at Stern Stewart & Co., where he worked since 2007. He studied economics and philosophy and politics at the University of Passau as well as at University College Dublin, before going on to get a PhD in economics from Martin-Luther University in Halle-Wittenberg, Germany.
John Brockman (born 1941) is a literary agent and author specializing in scientific literature. He established the Edge Foundation, an organization that brings together leading edge thinkers across a broad range of scientific and technical fields. Expanding on C.P. Snow’s “two cultures”, John introduced the “third culture” consisting of “those scientists and other thinkers in the empirical world who, through their work and expository writing, are taking the place of the traditional intellectual in rendering visible the deeper meanings of our lives, redefining who and what we are.” He led a scientific salon for 20 years, asking an annual question to a host of renowned scientists and publishing their answers in book form, which he decided to symbolically close down in 2018.
Pascale Bruderer is a board member of Galenica and a former Swiss parliamentarian. She was a member of the Council of States from 2011 to 2019 and a member of the National Council of Switzerland from 2002 to 2011. In 2009 and 2010, she was the President of the National Council. In 2009/2010, Pascale was at the age of 32 the youngest president ever of the United Federal Assembly and therefore Switzerland’s “highest ranking” person. She is a member of the Social Security and Health Committee, the Environment and Energy Committee National and Vice President of the Political Institutions Committee. As president of Inclusion Handicap she focuses the integration and equal treatment of people with disabilities. Her vision regarding new technologies is digital inclusion: to provide access to opportunities for all members of society in a digital age. Prior to her elevation to national office, Pascale served both in the cantonal parliament (2001–2002) and in Baden’s town parliament (1997–2004). Her professional experience involves several years’ work at UBS and Microsoft and she has been managing director of the Krebsliga Aargau (Aargau Cancer League) since 2009. She studied political science, constitutional law, and social and economic history at the University of Zurich and the University of Växjö (Sweden), ultimately earning a master’s in political science from the University of Zurich in 2005 as well as later on a diploma in “Global Leadership and Public Policy for the 21st Century” from the Harvard University/Kennedy School in 2011. In her leisure time, she enjoys being outdoors, walking her dog, hiking, and cross-country skiing.
Lukas Bruhin is a former secretary general of the Swiss Federal Departement of Home affairs and the Präsident of the Institutsrat Swissmedic at the Swiss Federal Government.
Ralph Büchi is Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Axel Springer SE, Berlin, since April 2019. From 2008 until May 2017 Ralph was President of Axel Springer International. In this function he was a member of the Executive Board of Axel Springer SE from 2012 to 2014. His various activities during that time included the launch of the European edition of POLITICO. He was also one of the founders and the Chairman of the Central European joint venture between Axel Springer and the Swiss publishing group Ringier since 2010. Prior to that he was co-owner and CEO of the Zurich-based business publishing group Handelszeitung, which he sold to Axel Springer in 1999. From 2017 to 2020 he was a member of the Group Executive Board of Ringier and in charge of their national and international publishing activities. Additionally, Ralph is a member of the European Advisory Board of Samsung. He is also a former President and currently a board member of FIPP, the global media network, and the European Business Press Group EBP.
Ton Büchner is the Chairman of Swiss Prime Site, Switzerland’s largest publicly quoted real estate company, as well as the Chairman of Burckhardt Compression, a world leading reciprocating compressor company. He is also a non-executive Board member at Novartis in Switzerland. For close to 6 years, until late 2017, he was the CEO of AkzoNobel, headquartered in the Netherlands. Prior to that, he was CEO of Sulzer AG in Switzerland for close to 5 years. Previously, he headed several Sulzer divisions and was the chief representative for the Sulzer Corporation in China. Prior to Sulzer, he worked as a project manager in offshore facility design and construction in the Netherlands, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. He obtained his MSc. in civil engineering at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and holds an M.B.A. from IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Daniele Buetti is a professor at the University of Fine Arts in Münster, Germany. He was born in Fribourg and currently lives in Zurich. As an artist he has held worldwide exhibitions since 1990. His work can be found in public collections such as the Kunstmuseum Bern; Kunsthaus Zürich; Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris; Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS) in Madrid; and Thyssen-Bornemisza Contemporary Art Foundation, Salzburg among others. Daniele also published several books, amongst others “Daniele Buetti” (2003) and “Maybe you can be one of us” (2008) with Hatje Cantz Verlag and „It’s All in your Mind“ (2014) with Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt.
Christian Buhl is CEO of the Geberit Group since 2015. He studied physics (Dipl. Phys. ETH) at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich (CH) before undertaking his doctorate (Dr. oec. HSG) in financial market research at the University of St. Gallen (CH). From 2000 to 2003, he worked in research and as a teaching assistant at the University of St. Gallen and at the University of Basel (CH). From 2004 to 2008, Christian worked at McKinsey & Company, Zurich (CH), where he undertook projects for various Swiss and international industrial companies. He joined Geberit in 2009 as Head of Strategic Planning, before taking over responsibility for the Geberit AquaClean shower toilet business in 2011. From 2012 to 2014, Christian was responsible for the German sales company at Geberit.
Andrea Burden is an assistant professor (tenure-track) of pharmacoepidemiology at the ETH Zurich. She obtained her PhD in 2014 at the University of Toronto in pharmacoepidemiology at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and then moved to the Netherlands for a 3-year post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Maastricht. At the ETH Zurich, the research focus is on using real-world healthcare data to improve the understanding and prediction of medication response in patients living with rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes mellitus. Currently she is involved in the FIDELIO EU Innovations in Training Networks (ITN) consortium to investigate fragility fractures within diabetes mellitus.
Irene Burger obtained her medical degree from the University of Zurich in 2004, with a thesis analyzing the diagnostic improvement in colorectal cancer with the use of positron emission tomography (PET) combined with computer tomography (CT). After six months of voluntary work in Haiti at the Albert Schweizer Hospital, she gained her board certifications for radiology and nuclear medicine at the University Hospital of Zurich, followed by a research year in molecular imaging at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (NY). Between 2014-2018 she lead the PET/CT center at the University Hospital of Zurich. Since 2019 she is the head of the nuclear medicine departement at the Kantonsspital Baden and still holds a research position at the University Hospital of Zurich. Besides diagnostic challenges, she loves climbing and biking.
Riet Cadonau is Chairman of dormakaba Group since 2018. He was CEO of dormakaba from 2011 until 2021. Dormakaba is a global leader in access and security solutions. Prior to that, he was CEO of Ascom Group. In addition, he is member of the Board of Directors of Georg Fischer +GF+ and of Zehnder Group. Earlier he was a Board member of Logitech International, Kaba Group and Griesser Group. He is Chairman of the Board of the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce. Furthermore, he was President of the Swiss Management Association (SMG). Riet graduated at the University of Zurich with a Master of Arts in economics and business administration. He also completed the Advanced Management Program (AMP) at INSEAD/France.
Christian Camenzind is an independent investor and advisor at Zurich-based Crapera Capital.
Florencia Canelli (born in Argentina) is a professor of physics at the University of Zurich. Her research is based on experimental particle physics at the Large Hadron Collider at the CERN laboratory. She helps build large detectors to search for invisible particles that could elucidate nature at the beginning of the universe. She received her PhD from the University of Rochester in 2003, studying the heaviest known fundamental particle – the top quark – and later moved to the University of California, Los Angeles as a postdoctoral researcher. In 2006 she became a scientist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and, from 2008 to 2012, she was an assistant and associate professor of physics at the University of Chicago. She is one of the rare particle physicists to have been a member of all four experiments that found evidence and discovered the Higgs boson. Following her need for higher energy colliders, she moved in 2012 to the University of Zurich, where she studies dark matter and the Higgs boson, and where she also found higher altitudes and learned to ski.
Leanna Caron, a global business executive, has extensive experience in the pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical devices industries. She is a respected sales, marketing, business development, and overall general management leader with demonstrated effectiveness in corporate governance. Leanna currently holds the following positions: CEO and Board Chair of Nexilis AG, Vice Chair of Kuros Biosciences AG, and Director of Skate Canada. Previous roles include Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at AgNovos Healthcare, overseeing all aspects of global commercial development, commercialization, and corporate communications; Vice President and General Manager at Sanofi, overseeing the global commercial operations for Cell Therapy & Regenerative Medicine. In this capacity, she led the turn-around of a fully integrated global division, rendering it profitable after years of financial losses. She has also held senior positions at Genzyme and Merck in the United States, Canada, and Europe, and has led several international teams to successfully launch niche/orphan and blockbuster products globally.
Thierry Carrel is Cardiovascular Surgeon and Co-Chair of the Department for Cardiac Surgery at University Hospital in Zurich. Prior to this, he was the Chairman the Department for Cardiovascular Surgery at Inselspital in Bern and full professor at the University of Bern (1999-2020). He is board certified in General Surgery and Cardiovascular Surgery. After the academic habilitation at the University Hospital in Zurich and fellowships in Hannover, Paris, Helsinki and Baltimore, he was appointed in 1999 at the University Hospital in Bern. Since the beginning of his career as surgeon, he has performed more than 12’000 cardiac procedures as surgeon, teacher or assistant. He’s author and co-author of more than 780 peer-reviewed scientific publications. In 2013 he received the Da Vinci Award of the European Association for Cardiac Surgery as the best teacher in Europe and in 2015 the honorary title (Dr. h.c.) of the University of Fribourg. In the last 20 years, he has had numerous experience with medical missions in Ural and Marokko and more recently Usbekistan. In 2018 he was elected as Member of the Board of Directors of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery. Thierry is married to Sabine Dahinden, a Swiss TV moderator and is father of a 28 yr-old daughter. He’s a passionate bass trombone player and racing biker.
Mamta Chabria is a Pioneer fellow at ETH Zürich, advancing inventions from her PhD to build a biopharma startup. TANDEM Therapeutics’s mission is to precision target the extracellular matrix: the glue surrounding the cells that is known to drive disease progression such as fibrosis & cancers. In the current role, Mamta pulls upon her industrial experience at Roche (R&D and product strategy) and her research work done in Prof. Viola Vogel`s group at ETHZ. Born in Mumbai, she graduated with a Bachelor in Pharmacy (Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute, India) and Masters in Molecular Bioengineering (Technische Universität Dresden, Germany) where she worked towards developing a DNA-based biosensor, before moving to Zurich. Mamta is a yoga enthusiast and believes food and languages put you on a fast track towards understanding different cultures.
Riccardo Ciarpaglini is a neurosurgeon at the Lindenhofspital in Bern.
Vladimir Cmiljanovic the founder and CEO of Swiss Rockets. He is one of Switzerland’s leading serial pharma entrepreneurs, and is a medicinal chemist and cancer scientist with more than fifteen years of experience in oncology drug development.
Philipp Cottier is an active entrepreneur and investor in blockchain and fintech start-ups, private equity, hedge funds and emerging markets. He is based in Zurich and sits on the board of several companies, including Bellegarde Capital, L1 Digital, Crypto Finance AG and previously Bank Vontobel. Philipp is also engaged in impact investing through responsAbility Investments and Persistent Energy. From 1998 to 2008 he built up and successfully exited Harcourt Investments, an asset manager focusing on alternative investments with close to $6bn of assets. He started his career at UBS in Basel, New York and Hong Kong, and Boston Consulting in Sydney. Philipp is a committed philanthropist and avid supporter of social causes such as girl empowerment through the Cottier Donzé Foundation. He holds two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. in finance from University of St. Gallen. Philipp is a passionate mountaineer, paraglider and sailor, and completed the first traverse of the famous North West Passage on a catamaran with his family.
Thomas Crowther is a Welsh scientist studying ecology and biodiversity. He is a professor in the department of Global Ecosystem Ecology at ETH Zurich, where he founded Crowther Lab, an interdisciplinary group of scientists studying global ecosystems and generating knowledge to protect biodiversity and address climate change. He serves as co-chair of the advisory board of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, along with Lucy Mulenkei. Crowther is the founder of Restor, an independent not-for-profit organization and open data platform that provides transparency and connectivity to conservation and restoration efforts across the globe. He has been named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and serves on the advisory council of WEF’s Trillion Trees initiative (1T.org).
Bice Curiger is artistic director at the Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles, a nonprofit foundation located in Arles, France, dedicated to the work and legacy of Vincent van Gogh, and co-founder and editor-in-chief of “Parkett,” the book series with contemporary artists, published in German and English three times a year in Zurich and New York. Formerly, Bice was curator at the Kunsthaus Zürich, the museum of fine arts. Bice is the director of the 54th Biennale in Venice, 2011. Since 2004, she also serves as editorial director of “Tate Etc.,” the magazine of the Tate in London. In 2006/07, Bice was Rudolf-Arnheim-Professor at Humboldt-University in Berlin. In 2007, she was awarded with the Heinrich Wölfflin-Medaille of the City of Zurich. She studied art history at the University of Zurich. In 2012, Bice was awarded the Kulturpreis des Kantons Zürich and the Meret Oppenheim-Preis. Bice was one of the speakers at the 2009 Annual Symposium.
Steffi Czerny is the co-founder of the DLD Conference and the managing director of DLD Media GmbH since 2010. Joining the Burda group in 1995, Steffi held several executive posts in new media activities. Her background is in political sciences and communications. Steffi has followed developments in the digital world for over 20 years and focuses on developing branding and communication initiatives. Founded in 2005, DLD hosts annual conferences in Munich, New York, Tel Aviv and Brussels which have developed over the last years into Europe’s most established digital innovation conference with an interdisciplinary outlook. Steffi was identified as one of Germany’s 25 most influential businesswomen by “Financial Times Deutschland” for her success in bringing the international digital elite together at DLD. Since 2016 she has been an active member of the University Advisory Board of the University of Bayreuth and since 2017 she is a member of the Board of Trustees of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Germany.
Raffaello D’Andrea is Professor at ETH Zürich and the founder/CEO of Verity, a self-flying drone systems company and provider of drone failsafe technology. He cofounded Kiva Systems, which was acquired by Amazon and rebranded as Amazon Robotics. During his time as a professor at Cornell University, he cofounded the systems engineering program and led the Cornell Robot Soccer team to four world championships. He is also a founder of RoboGlobal, an organization that introduced the world’s first Robotics and AI Exchange Traded Fund. His work as a new media artist has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale and is part of the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada and France’s FRAC Centre. He created the drone design and choreographies for Cirque du Soleil’s Paramour on Broadway and Metallica’s WorldWired tour, and was executive producer for the drone light shows in Drake’s Aubrey & the Three Migos tour, Céline Dion’s Courage tour, and Justin Bieber’s Justice tour. His TED and research videos, with tens of millions of views, offer an inspiring view into the world of engineering, robotics, and computer science.
Nick Davies is a Senior Advisory Partner at Deloitte. Nick was born in Wales in 1969 and studied Business and Technology before moving to London to work in the Banking Industry. Nick joined Deloitte in 1996 and has since focused on how global organizations, across a range of Industries, can effectively transform through the deployment of new technology. Nick moved to Switzerland in 2007 and was instrumental in the growth of its Consulting practice, leading the business between 2011 and 2016. He subsequently served a four-year term as the COO and returned to directly serving clients during the pandemic. Having experienced working with many of Switzerland’s best-known companies, Nick now leads a number of global accounts and also invests a significant amount of time helping develop future talent, both inside and outside of Deloitte.
Emanuel de Bellis is director of the Institute of Behavioral Science and Technology and professor at the University of St.Gallen. He was previously a professor at the University of Lausanne and spent visits at Columbia Business School and the University of British Columbia. As a behavioral scientist, Emanuel examines the underlying mechanisms that drive our cognition and behavior, combined with his interest in current technological and societal developments. In his research, he seeks to improve the understanding of how consumers perceive and use new technologies, such as autonomous products. His research has been published in top-tier business and interdisciplinary journals and has been featured in major media outlets. In 2021, Emanuel released “The Machine Age of Customer Insight”, a book on the transformation of customer insights and the growing impact of machine learning.
Hanne de Mora is co-founder of a-connect, the global platform for the world’s best independent professionals and the smart progressive global corporations. In addition to a-connect, Hanne is a non-executive director of Nestlé, AB Volvo, the global truck and construction equipment manufacturer, and a former board member of Metso Outotec in Finland, Sandvik in Sweden, Telenor and Tomra in Norway, and Valora in Switzerland. She is also the vice-chair of IMD Supervisory board, and the Chair of Microcaps a Zürich based start-up. Prior to founding a-connect, Hanne was a partner with McKinsey & Company and started her career with Procter & Gamble in Geneva. She holds a degree in business administration from HEC in Lausanne, and a M.B.A. from IESE in Barcelona. Hanne is an avid outdoor’s person, and she thrives when she can coach and develop young talent.
Gaétan de Rassenfosse is an Associate Professor in Innovation Policy at EPFL. After having obtained a Ph.D. in Economics in Brussels, Gaétan moved to the Faculty of Business and Economics at the University of Melbourne. He joined EPFL in 2014 to head the IIPP lab, which advances knowledge on Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy using data science methods. Gaétan is a world expert on intellectual property (IP) issues with a proven track record as a researcher, teacher, public speaker, and consultant. He has published in leading academic journals and worked with governmental organizations across the world. Besides his academic career, Gaétan enjoys outdoor sports, including mountain trail running, open-water swimming, and road cycling.
Alessia Delbrück holds a PhD in Food Science from ETH Zurich and is a Scientist and Innovation Project Manager at DSM. Alessia is passionately committed to working towards a new food future – a future with enough, safe and nutritious food for everyone- achieved by innovative solutions and drastic changes to the global food mindset. In the past she has worked on various innovation projects in the food industry, currently she is working on the developement of medical nutrition for impaired populations. Next to her work in industry, she is a Lecturer at the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Health at ETH Zurich.
Brice-Olivier Demory is Professor of Astrophysics SNSF at the University of Bern. He obtained his MSc in physics from EPFL and PhD from the University of Geneva. Brice-Olivier spent three years at MIT (USA) and three others at the University of Cambridge (UK). He leads in Bern a research group aiming at finding and characterising Earth-like exoplanets. Among the different projects he is involved in, Brice-Olivier is leading the development of a new space mission that will pave the way for the detection of life beyond the Earth within the next decade. He is striving to develop societal applications through his research, from cancer screening and monitoring to education in developing countries. Brice-Olivier is recipient of the Royal Society and Rutherford Fellowships. In his spare time, he likes to fly his experimental aircraft above the Alps.
Veit V. Dengler (born in 1968) is Chief Operating Officer of Bauer Media Group, based in Hamburg. He is the former CEO of NZZ-Mediengruppe, the media group around its Swiss flagship “Neue Zürcher Zeitung”. Veit led the group’s transformation process from a traditional newspaper publisher to a modern media group focused on its heritage of high-quality journalism, while also expanding its business data and conferences businesses. In the late 1980s, Veit worked as a stringer for TIME Magazine. He was in marketing at Procter & Gamble, spent seven years with McKinsey, and held management positions at T-Mobile, Groupon and Dell, where he most recently served as General Manager and Executive Director for Eastern Europe and Russia. Veit holds a master’s degree in commerce from the Vienna Business School and a Master in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School. In 2012, he co-founded NEOS, a liberal party in Austria which, in 2013, won representation in parliament. Besides his political work and business career, Veit is a passionate badminton player.
Marija Desivojević Cvetković is the Senior Vice President of Delta Holding, Serbia, responsible for business strategy and development, human resources, information technologies & innovation and corporate communications. From 2008 to 2012, she was the CEO of Delta Food Processing, before which she held the positions of the General Manager of Verano Invest and the Executive Director of Spinnaker New Technologies (ComTrade Group). Marija graduated from the Faculty of Mathematics, University of Belgrade (MSc), and holds an MBA from the Faculty of Economics, Finance and Administration, Belgrade. She serves as a member of the board in Addiko Bank Serbia as well as in the Serbian Association of Managers. She is also a member of the business club “Privrednik”, the President of the Serbian Triathlon Union and the Vice President of the Olympic Committee of Serbia. Marija speaks English and a bit of German. She is a passionate marathon runner and Ironman triathlete. She is married and has two sons.
Luca Di Tizio is a recent graduate of Mechanical Engineering from ETH Zurich. Currently Luca is helping Microcaps AG with the technification of its patented microfluidics platform. Luca is the former CEO of Swissloop, and contributed to the Hyperloop vision together with a team of highly motivated and talented young people. Entering the final round of Elon Musk’s SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition was their first milestone, along the ambitious goal of bringing hyper-speed transportation to the world.
Ulrike Diebold was born and raised in small towns in Austria. She spent most of her high-school years reading books and skiing. Not knowing what to focus on, she decided to study physics to train her brain. After graduating with a PhD from the Technical University in Vienna, she moved to the US, where she spent 20 years as a scientist and academic. In 2010 she returned to Vienna, where she is now a Professor of Surface Physics. Ulrike is passionate about curiosity-driven, fundamental scientific research. She is interested in understanding the surfaces of materials, and she uses microscopic techniques to study them with exquisite detail – atom by atom. The results that she obtains are beautiful and esthetically pleasing, and they also provide insights that can help engineers develop better energy conversion, e.g., solar energy to fuels. Since July 2022, she has served as the Vice President of the Austrian Academy of Science, responsible for 25 research institutes, ranging from archeology and digital humanities to high-energy physics. She enjoys that this gives her a much broader view of scientific research. She still does a lot of skiing but unfortunately doesn’t have the time anymore to read a book a day.
Jos Dijsselhof joined SIX in January 2018 as CEO. He holds degrees in computer science and business administration, and has a long track record in international management in the financial sector. He has previously held positions at ABN Amro Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland and ANZ Australia & New Zealand Banking Group in various countries including Hong Kong and Singapore. His most recent role was Chief Operating Officer (2014–June 2017) and CEO ad interim (2015) at Euronext in Amsterdam. Jos is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors Bolsas y Mercados Españoles (BME), Madrid.
Rolf Dobelli is an avid admirer of science. He is a novelist, non-fiction author, and founder of WORLD.MINDS. Rolf studied philosophy at University of St. Gallen, where he received his Ph.D. On a personal note: He loves books and doesn’t consume news. His books have been translated in 47 languages. He lives with his family in Bern, Switzerland.
Sabine Dobelli is a novelist. Her pen name is Clara Maria Bagus. She studied psychology at Stanford University and received her master’s degree in psychology from the University of Konstanz in Germany. Sabine’s research spans multiple topics including neuroscience, cognitive, business and clinical psychology. She amassed significant experience in brain research at the Stanford Medical Center. Sabine lived for many years in the U.S., Australia and Germany. She now lives in Bern.
Tilo Dresig is the CEO of Viridium, the leading closed life insurance company in Germany and one of the largest closed life consolidators in Europe and globally. Viridium has executed and integrated multiple acquisitions and manages an investment portfolio of >€70bn. The business model is based on the efficient management of life policies (operational & IT efficiency, refined investment & actuarial management). Before joining Viridium in 2018, Tilo worked for Goldman Sachs in London and Frankfurt for more than 16 years. He was Head of Financial Services in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Nordic region and responsible for a large number of meaningful M&A, equity and financing transactions for leading insurance companies, banks, private banks, specialty finance and selected other industries. Tilo started in 2000 at Allianz Group as a direct report to the Group CFO. He did various internships in Germany, France, the UK and South Africa. He studied business in Germany and holds a Ph.D.
Athena Economides studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Cyprus (BSc, MSc) and received a PhD from ETH Zurich at the Computational Science and Engineering laboratory. She is now a Postdoctoral researcher at ETH Zürich and the University Hospital of Zurich. Research interests include computational modeling of blood flow at the sub-micrometer scale, uncertainty quantification of red blood cell models, and image processing.
Reiner Eichenberger is Professor for Economic and Financial Policy at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland (since 1998). He studied Economics at the University of Zurich, where he also gained his PhD and Habilitation. He specializes in political and institutional economics as well as institutional innovations. He authored or co-authored three books and more than 140 academic articles. He often publishes in non-academic outlets and has been engaged in various ways in public decision-making. In the ranking of NZZ/FAZ/Presse of Swiss economists and their societal influence, he was ranked second in the years 2016 to 2020. In 2016 he was awarded the STAB Prize (Stiftung für Abendländische Ethik und Kultur).
Péter Fankhauser is co-founder and CEO of the Zurich-based robotics company ANYbotics, providing autonomous systems to create a more human-friendly working world. Péter holds a doctorate degree from ETH Zurich and has been co-developing the technology behind the company’s products.
Fabiola Fernandez, born in 1977 in Sao Paulo, is the Co-CEO at Gegenbauer Holding SE & Co KG, one of the Facility Management leader companies in Germany with app. 18.000 employees in Germany, Poland and Luxembourg. Previously to her career at Gegenbauer, she had different finance positions (Tax Director, CFO Latin America, CFO Potash Business) working specially for the German mining group K+S AG internationally (in Germany, Canada, US, Chile, etc). Currently, she lives with her family in Berlin, Germany.
Michael Fertik is the CEO and founder of Reputation.com, which he started with the belief that businesses and individuals have the right to control and protect their online reputation and privacy. Credited with pioneering the field of online reputation management (ORM), Fertik is lauded as the world’s leading cyberthinker in digital privacy and reputation. Recently named Entrepreneur of the Year by TechAmerica, Michael is also a member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on the Future of the Internet and received the World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer 2011 Award. In addition to his passion for digital privacy and online reputation, Michael also enjoys sailing and writing.
Bruno Fichefeux is Senior Vice President Future Combat Air System and member of the Executive Committee of Airbus Defense & Space. He is heading Europe’s largest defense sovereignty program, leading next generation fighter jets, unmanned air systems, defense cloud and AI. In his Airbus career, Bruno held various senior leadership position in Germany and Spain in Aerostructures, autonomous systems, transport aircraft and manufacturing. Franco-German and convinced European, Bruno is committed to building bridges between France and Germany in domains of cultural understanding and defense policy. He loves reading, languages, horseback riding and spending time with family and his 5 children in the Bavarian alps.
Alessio Figalli is a Fields Medallist and a chaired professor of mathematics at ETH Zürich. He works primarily on the calculus of variations and partial differential equations. He received the Prix and Cours Peccot in 2012, the EMS Prize in 2012, the Stampacchia Medal in 2015, the Feltrinelli Prize in 2017, and the Fields Medal in 2018. In 2016 he was awarded a European Research Council (ERC) grant. Also, he holds two Doctorate Honoris Causa, one from the Université Côte d’Azur (2018) and one from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (2019). Alessio received his master’s degree from the University of Pisa in 2006 and earned his doctorate in 2007 under the supervision of Luigi Ambrosio at the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa and Cédric Villani at the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon. In 2007 he was appointed Chargé de recherche at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, and in 2008 he went to the École Polytechnique as Professeur Hadamard. In 2009, Alessio moved to the University of Texas at Austin as an associate professor. Then he became a full professor in 2011 and the R. L. Moore Chairholder in 2013. Since 2016 he has been a chaired professor at ETH Zürich. Starting from 2019, he is the director of the “Forschungsinstitut für Mathematik (FIM)” at ETH.
Pascal Forster has all his life had a true passion for bringing together great minds and ideas, fostering innovation and improving the world. Besides WORLD.MINDS, he has helped to set up a number of thriving global communities of business-, thought- and innovation leaders amongst which the Entrepreneurs Roundtable, Club zum Rennweg and CFC St.Moritz. As an entrepreneur and investor, Pascal is actively involved in building the frameworks for the next stage of digitization and the connected economy. As a private citizen and together with his wife Margarita, in 1999 they founded “Fundacion Avancar” which since actively supports women in Ecuador to become entrepreneurs through a number of education, mentoring and financing programs.
Patrick Fragman is President & CEO of Westinghouse Electric Co. Prior to this, he was Group Senior Vice President of the Grid Integration Business at ABB after a 15-year career at Alstom. In his last role in Alstom, he was in charge of both the integration with GE for Alstom Power in, and the Alstom Nuclear Business, designing and supplying conventional islands and related components for nuclear power plants worldwide. Patrick had held various business management positions within Alstom Power (such as Environmental Control Systems, C02 Capture Systems, Steam Asia, Boiler Retrofits), following various similar positions with Alstom Transportation in France, Canada & U.S.A., and leading the Alstom Space business supplying ground segment equipment and services. Patrick has held several senior positions within the French Government, mostly within the French Ministries in charge of Industry and Environment. These positions covered various fields related to industrial and energy issues. His last public position was advisor for industrial and nuclear safety to the French minister in charge of environment. Patrick is fond of outdoor activities and sports, especially skiing, and fishing, and the family is settled in Switzerland since 2008, though Patrick spends a large amount of time in the US.
Emilio Frazzoli is the co-founder and CTO of nuTonomy Inc., and a professor at the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering at ETH Zurich. He is a world-renowned expert in robotics, autonomous systems, and intelligent mobility. In acknowledgement of his seminal work, Emilio has received numerous major awards, including the the 2015 IEEE George S. Axelby Award and the 2017 IEEE Kiyo Tomiyasu Award. Emilio has published more than 200 papers in the fields of robotics, autonomous vehicles, and drones. A former full professor at MIT, he directed the research group that first demonstrated an autonomous mobility (“robotaxi”) service to the public, and performed the first analysis of the social and economic impact of such a service, based on real transportation data.
André Frensch is the creative director of the editorial team of “WORLD.MINDS Magazine” and the editor-in-chief of “Schweizer LandLiebe,”. He was significantly involved in the development of “Schweizer LandLiebe,” which is the most successful new launch of a print title in recent years.
Bruno S. Frey (born in Basel) is professor of economics. He studied Economics in Basel and Cambridge (England), and had a two-year stay in the United States. From 1970 to 2006 he has been an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Basel. He was Full Professor of Economics at the University of Constance between 1970 and 1977; and from 1990 to 1991 he was a Visiting Research Professor at Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago. More recently, from 1977 to 2012, he was a Full Professor of Economics at the University of Zurich. Bruno has been Distinguished Professor of Behavioral Science at the Warwick Business School at the University of Warwick (U.K.) from 2010 to 2013. From 2012 to 2015, he was Senior Professor of Economics at Zeppelin University, Germany, and between 2007 and 2009 Visiting Professor at the ETH Zurich. Bruno is Research Director of CREMA—Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts—and is the honorary editor of Kyklos. Since 2015, he is Permanent Visiting Professor at the University of Basel/Faculty of Business and Economics (CREW—Center for Research in Economics and Well-Being). Bruno received an honorary doctorate in economics from the University of St. Gallen in 1998, the University of Gothenburg in 1998, the Free University of Brussels in 2009, the University of Aix-en-Provence/Marseille in 2010, and the University of Innsbruck in 2011. He belongs to the small set of the “most highly cited researchers.” He is a Fellow of the Public Choice Society, a Distinguished Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE), and a Distinguished Fellow of CESifo Research Network. He is the author of numerous articles in professional journals, as well as the author of 21 books, some of which have been translated into nine languages. His current main research is on the subjects of “happiness”, “Random Choice”, and “Overcoming Overtourism”.
Rainer-Marc Frey is the Founder and Chairman of SO Holdings AG and its subsidiaries, including Horizon21 AG, a private investment office established in 2004. Rainer-Marc has a proven track record in investment banking and is a recognized expert in the field of global alternative investment strategies. He began his international career in 1987 and held various positions at Merrill Lynch and Salomon Brothers. In 1992, he founded his own company, RMF Investment Group. Under his leadership, RMF evolved into one of the leading hedge fund organizations in Europe. In 2002, he sold his company to the publicly listed Man Group in London. The merged entities formed the world’s largest Hedge Fund Group at its time. Subsequently he founded Horizon21 in 2004 as his investment platform across a wide range of global investment opportunities. He is active as a strategic minority investor in a range of Mid-Cap companies. In 2013, he led the buy-out of Lonrho Ltd., a pan-African conglomerate where he is the lead investor and acts as its Vice Chairman. He has substantial public Board experience, incl. member of the Board of UBS AG (2008-2014) and DKSH, the largest market expansion services company in South East Asia, from 2008 to 2018. Further he is engaged in a broad range of activities incl. founder and member of the Board of the Frey Charitable Foundation (FCF) which engages in topics of Social Entrepreneurship in Africa. Beyond he is a leisurely pilot and travels the world. He holds a degree in business and banking (lic. oec. HSG) from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland.
Tatjana Frey is the co-founder and president of the Frey Charitable Foundation (FCF), established in 2004 in Switzerland. Today, FCF mainly engages in topics of Social Entrepreneurship in Africa. In this capacity Tatjana selects and monitors over a dozen of longer-term projects and actively helps to improve their impact. These organizations and projects aim to improve the living conditions of the underprivileged with an entrepreneurial mindset and approach. They cover a broad range of topics incl. education, renewable energy, human rights activities and impact investment. Tatjana is a mother of three adult children, is fluent in a range of languages and has extensively travelled the world. She has a degree in hotel management and worked in investment banking for a number of years. Beyond, she is an alumna of the Singularity Programs in Silicon Valley.
Andrea Frick is a developmental psychologist. She earned her doctorate at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Zürich in 2006, after which she gained four years of postdoctoral experience in the United States, first at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and then at Temple University in Philadelphia. From 2011 to 2014, she worked at the University of Bern, where she was awarded the Venia Docendi (Habilitation) in 2013. From 2014 to 2021 she held an SNSF Professorship at the University of Fribourg. Her research area is cognitive and motor development, with a special focus on the development of spatial cognition, mental representations, and imagery abilities.
Pius Fritschi is a Managing Partner at LGT Capital Partners and member of the Executive Committee. In his functions, he is chairing the Firm’s market commitee as well as the Liquid Alternatives business unit. Prior to joining the firm in 2009, Pius was a senior partner at McKinsey & Company, serving banks, insurance companies and asset managers on a broad range of topics. During his 15 years at McKinsey, Pius worked out of Zurich, Sydney and Mexico-City offices, serving clients from all over the world. In 2006, Pius joined Horizon21, an alternative investment boutique in Switzerland, as partner and deputy-CEO. He holds an MA in Economics and Business Administration from the University of Basel.
Thomas Frutiger leads, together with his cousin, Luc, the family-owned Frutiger Group, one of the leading construction companies in Switzerland. He holds a business degree from the University of St. Gallen and a real estate degree from the European Business School (EBS). He is a fellow member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (FRICS).
Lorenz Furrer is managing partner and founder of furrerhugi, which started as a public affairs agency and became a public affairs and political communication interlocutor in Switzerland. Today furrerhugi is a communication agency with big sensibility for sociopolitical communication and campaigning, and employs 50 colleagues in Bern, Zurich, Lugano, Lausanne, Fribourg and Brussels. Besides his business career, Lorenz is a passionate cook and polo player and has two girls with his wife Nicole Loeb.
Alain Germiquet is Member of the Group Management of Lindt & Sprüngli (International) AG based in Kilchberg, outside of Zurich. Alain’s responsibilities cover around 100 countries in Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Africa and Latin America as well as Travel Retail and International Sales. He took over his first role as CEO at Hiestand AG in Switzerland (now Aryzta) before joining Nestlé as Commercial Director for the Swiss market. He spent around 10 years abroad, first in London as CEO of Lindt & Sprüngli UK and then in Paris as CEO of Lindt & Sprüngli France. Alain is a passionate sports car driver.
Manuel Gerres is the Managing Director of Deutsche Bahn Digital Ventures and the Head of Ecosystem Management & Global Tech-Partnerships at Deutsche Bahn Group. He has been responsible for the development of digital processes, business models and B2C as well as B2B services for the Deutsche Bahn. In this capacity, he has also been accountable for setting up and coordinating an international partner network to further facilitate DB’s digitalization projects by incorporating tech- and innovation leaders. While being an international keynote speaker and author, Manuel is also engaging as a mentor in the areas of digital transformation and sustainability business.
Philipp Gmür is the Group CEO of Helvetia Insurance. He earned law degrees from the universities of Fribourg/CH (PhD) and Duke Law School/USA (LL.M.) and was admitted to the bar in Switzerland. Furthermore he completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. He started his career as a clerk of the Supreme Court of Lucerne. Joining Helvetia in 1993, he took over the responsibility for the General Agency of Central Switzerland. In 2000 he became Head of Distribution and a member of the management committee. Since 2003 he was the CEO of Helvetia Switzerland and a member of its Group Executive Board before being appointed to his current position as of 2016. He successfully accomplished Helvetia’s development to one of the leading insurance companies in its home market and a respected dynamic player in selective countries and business lines. Philipp is a member of the Board of Directors of Allreal Holding and of the Grand Casino Lucerne Group. He is married and has 4 children. He likes outdoor sports and reading.
Benedikt Goldkamp serves as CEO and delegate of the board of directors of SIX-listed Phoenix Mecano AG since 2001. He worked as an auditor for KPMG and as a strategy consultant at McKinsey & Co. From 1998 to 2000, he managed the Phoenix Mecano’s own production facility in Hungary and several group-internal restructuring projects. Benedikt holds a degree in tax law and an M.B.A. from Duke University. He enjoys golf and collects guitars.
Peter Gomez is professor emeritus of management and former director of the Institute of Management at the University of St. Gallen (HSG). He was professor at HSG since 1990, when he returned to academia after 10 years of practical experience in Swiss industry (Ringier Group, Distral Group and Valcor). From 1999 to 2005, he was rector of HSG and led the fundamental change process of the university. In 2005, he became founding dean of the Executive School of Management, Technology and Law, the umbrella organization of all executive education activities of the HSG, which he headed till 2010. In 2006, he was appointed chairman of the board of SWX Group, the Swiss Exchange, which he merged in 2008 with SIS Group and Telekurs Group to form SIX Group (Swiss Infrastructure and Exchange). He retired as chairman of SIX Group in 2013 and is presently president or member of several foundations and holds memberships in academic boards and professional organizations. He engages in major projects to strengthen corporate leadership committed to society. Finally, he likes to travel, play golf, and collect butterflies—a good combination. The most beautiful butterflies are often found on golf courses in exotic countries.
Felix Graf (born in USA) is the CEO of NZZ AG, one of the largest private media companies in Switzerland. He joined NZZ in 2018 and leads the company through the transformation process into a modern media group with a focus on high-quality journalism, digital information services and conferences. After studying and completing his PhD at ETH Zurich in the area of Quantum Optics, Felix held various management positions at McKinsey, Swisscom, Teleclub and Axpo. Most recently, he served for four years as CEO of CKW and was also a member of the Executive Board of Axpo. Felix holds a Master’s degree in physics and chemistry from ETH Zurich and a PhD in physics from ETH Zurich. In 2007 he was appointed Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum (WEF).
Ashley Green is a doctoral candidate at ETH Zurich in the Sustainable Food Processing Laboratory and at Agroscope, which is the Swiss center for agricultural research. Her research focuses on methodological development and data for integrating nutritional aspects of agri-food production into environmental analyses. She completed her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania (UPENN) and her MSc degree at the University of Michigan in Environmental Science. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, Ashley worked as a Research Analyst in Washington, D.C. for the World Resources Institute (WRI), which is an environmental think tank and as a consultant in Rome, Italy for the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).
Nicolas Gruber (born in Peru) is a professor of environmental physics at ETH Zurich and vice-chair of the department of Environmental Systems Science. He is a worldwide expert on the carbon cycle and its interaction with the climate system with a particular interest in determining the fate of the carbon dioxide (CO2) that is emitted into the atmosphere primarily by the burning of fossil fuels. His goal is to better understand the sink processes in the ocean and on land that determine how much of the emitted CO2 stays in the atmosphere and contributes to warming. To this end he is developing and using a range of statistical methods and high-resolution models of the coupled ocean-atmosphere-land system. He is also very interested in promoting innovation and outreach in the climate field, and to bring actors from the academic, public, and private sectors together to accelerate the development and implementation of climate change adaptation and mitigation measures. Nicolas is an avid ice hockey player, and loves sports in general (soccer, tennis, swimming, volleyball). He is also very interested in art and modern architecture, particularly after having owned an icon of modern architecture while living in Los Angeles.
Eric Gujer has been editor-in-chief of the “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” since March 2015 and a member of the management of the NZZ Media Group. After graduating from high school and an internship with a German daily newspaper, he studied history, political science and Slavic studies at the universities of Freiburg im Breisgau and Cologne. Eric has worked for the NZZ for almost three decades. He began as an intern and freelancer in 1986 before becoming a correspondent for the GDR based in Berlin. This was followed by stations in Zurich, Jerusalem, Moscow and again Berlin. From July 2013 he was head of the foreign department. Eric is one of the most important journalists in Switzerland and is also highly regarded abroad as an excellent expert on the EU, Germany, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. He has also made a name for himself as an expert and author on international strategy issues and terrorism.
Thomas Gutzwiller is professor at the Executive School of Management, Technology and Law at the University of St. Gallen where he runs the Henri B. Meier School of Entrepreneurship. In his principal professional activities, he is partner of gwpartner AG a boutique consulting firm specialized in transformational growth. He is chairman of Manres AG, the leading Swiss/German leadership development firm. As a professor of business administration, he lectures on corporate development and transformation management at the University of St. Gallen and at ETH Zurich. Thomas grew up in Ghana and Italy.
Peter Haag is a publisher and founder of Kein & Aber, a young literary publishing house for German and international authors such as David Nicholls, Woody Allen, Truman Capote, Steve Tesich, Harry Rowohlt, Gerhard Polt, and Anne Tyler, among many others. Kein & Aber has a strong and dense presence in the German-speaking market, and over the last couple of years, has earned a good reputation with a young and open-minded audience. This development is reflected not only in commercial success but also in the company’s popularity with the media and booksellers. Peter is a learned bookseller and studied library science. He lives in Zurich, with his wife and daughter.
Michael Hagander is the Co-Founder of Microcaps AG, a Swiss-based company that offers a novel technology for the production of microparticles and microcapsules used to protect pharmaceutical agents in drugs or fragrances in cosmetic products. Before starting Microcaps, he was a student pilot at the Swiss Air Force and still holds a valid commercial pilot license. He holds a degree in Science of Aviation and Mechanical Engineering from ETH Zürich.
Nils Hagander is co-founder of a-connect, a leading global staffing and project execution firm for highly qualified independent professionals. He is also an active investor in Secheron Hasler, Studer Cables, several start up companies and in air-connect. Nils was most recently a director with McKinsey & Company, and co-leader of the firm’s European corporate finance and strategy practice. He previously worked as an account manager with Citibank in Zurich. He holds degrees in business and economics, as well as in law, from the University of St. Gallen. Personal note: Nils has been an air-show pilot since 1986 and has won several aerobatic medals in Swiss and European championships. He is a frequent participant in air-shows demonstrating his aerobatic as well as old timer aircrafts.
Richard Hahnloser is the director of the Institute of Neuroinformatics, affiliated with the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich. Trained as a physicist, his research interests are to elucidate the computational principles of song production and learning in songbirds. Only few animal species are experts like us in vocal learning and songbirds might be the animal champions. As a model of speech development in infants, vocal learning in birds can help us to understand the constraints inherent in vocal learning and the brain architectures that support learning. In the past, by recording the activity in single neurons in singing birds, he has discovered a neural representation of time; birds use that time representation to produce their songs. Richard studies factors that may be relevant for vocal development but are difficult to study in humans such as: Is dream-like replay of neural activity during sleep relevant for vocal learning? Or, how do birds learn a new song given they already master one song? Vocal learning is a wonder about which birds may provide the essential clues.
Florian Haller is CEO and Managing Partner of Munich-based Serviceplan Group, an agency that not only offers creative advertising, but also marketing services. Florian has been with Serviceplan since 1996, and prior to this he worked at P&G as a brand manager. He received an MBA from the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland.
Dennis Hansen is a tropical ecologist and science communicator. He is project leader for the concept- and content development of the new Natural History Museum at the University of Zurich. His conservation research, also based at the University of Zurich, has taken him to islands around the world and focuses on ecological interactions and how we can resurrect extinct ecologies. Dennis is also the CEO and Science Director of IOTA, the Indian Ocean Tortoise Alliance, a newly launched Seychelles-based conservation NGO. IOTA’s mission is to support the conservation of Aldabra giant tortoises and develop and promote their use in rewilding projects on islands in the Western Indian Ocean. These giant tortoises are only found in the wild on the isolated Aldabra Atoll. This heavily protected UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to more than 100,000 of these gentle giants, making the atoll the last reptile-dominated ecosystem on Earth. To break out of his scientific shell, Dennis collaborates with artists on several art-science projects around the world.
Felix Happel is Chairman of the Porterhouse Group, an international holding company based in Lucerne, Switzerland. The company follows the principles of a long-term oriented family business, with the goal of acquiring majority positions in innovative companies that serve basic humans needs. The group of companies employs more than 6,000 people globally.
Dirk Helbing is Professor of Computational Social Science at the Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences at ETH Zurich and affiliate of its Computer Science Department. Furthermore, he is member of the external faculty of the Complexity Science Hub Vienna. In January 2014, Dirk received an honorary PhD from Delft University of Technology (TU Delft). Shortly later, he was also affiliate professor at the faculty of Technology, Policy and Management at TU Delft for some years, where he led the PhD school in “Engineering Social Technologies for a Responsible Digital Future“. Dirk started as a physicist. With his diploma thesis, he initiated the area of pedestrian, crowd, and evacuation modeling and simulation. During his PhD and habilitation in physics, he helped to establish the fields of socio-, econo- and traffic physics. He was also co-founder of the Physics of Socio-Economic Systems Division of the German Physical Society (DPG). The work of Dirk is documented by hundreds of media reports and publications, among them more than 10 papers in Nature, Science, and PNAS. He won various prizes, including the Idee Suisse Award. He co-founded the Competence Center for Coping with Crises in Complex Socio-Economic Systems (CCSS), the Risk Center, the Institute for Science, Technology and Policy (ISTP), and the Decision Science Laboratory (DeSciL). While coordinating the FuturICT initiative (www.futurict.eu), he helped to establish data science and computational social science in Europe, as well as global systems science.
André Helfenstein is CEO of Credit Suisse Switzerland and member of the Credit Suisse Group Executive Committee. Credit Suisse is a global bank focused on Wealth Management and Investment Banking. Beyond Banking André is passionate about history, reads eclectically, enjoys sports in the summer and winter as well as being together with his daugther and friends. With a bit more time at hand he would like to expand his travelling and to further develop the charitable activities he has started to share with his partner.
Ravit Helled is a Planetary Scientist and a Professor for Theoretical Astrophysics, at the Center for Theoretical Astrophysics & Cosmology, Institute for Computational Science, University of Zurich. She is an international expert in planetary modeling, uniquely addressing the link between planetary formation, evolution, and internal structure. She is a key player in relating exoplanet studies with Solar-System science. Ravit has received her PhD from Tel-Aviv University in 2008 on the topic “The Formation of Jupiter”. She has previously been a postdoc and senior researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles (2007-2011) and a professor at Tel-Aviv University (2011-2016). While Ravit’s research is mostly theoretical she is strongly involved in space exploration: she is part of the Juno NASA mission, as well as various ESA mission such as JUICE, Plato and Ariel. She is also part of different activities for the planning and design of future space missions. Prof Helled serves the community intensively by frequently being an invited speaker and is involved in panels, committees, scientific forums and review panels. Ravit is married and a mother for two children. In her free time she enjoys reading, meeting friends, and nature.
Kevin Heng is a professor of astronomy and planetary science at the University of Bern and the director of its Center for Space and Habitability. He is also an honorary professor of the physics department at the University of Warwick, U.K. He is a theoretical astrophysicist who studies the atmospheres and climates of exoplanets (planets orbiting other stars beyond our Solar System). He is the author of “Exoplanetary Atmospheres: Theoretical Concepts and Foundations,” published by Princeton University Press, which won the 2018 Chambliss Astronomical Writing Award of the American Astronomical Society. He holds an European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant (2018-2023) worth 2 million euros. He obtained his M.S. and Ph.D degrees at the University of Colorado, spent three years at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (holding the title of Frank & Peggy Taplin Member), and was a Zwicky Prize Fellow at ETH Zurich, before joining the University of Bern as an assistant professor. In his free time, he writes an annual column for the American Scientist magazine (since 2012). Kevin was one of the speakers at the 2012 Annual Symposium and 2016 WORLD.MINDS Salon. Starting in August 2022, he will be the inaugural chair professor of exoplanet science at the Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) of Munich.
Michael Hengartner (born in Switzerland, and grew up in Canada) is the president of the ETH Board. Prior to this, he was president of the University of Zurich (UZH). Michael was recruited to Zurich in 2001 to become the first occupant of the Ernst Hadorn endowed professorship at the University of Zurich (UZH) and, in 2009, he became dean of UZH’s Faculty of Science. Michael’s research focuses on the pathways that lead to programmed cell death—knowledge that will be critical in fighting cancer. Michael has a long-standing interest in improving science education and education policy. He was the founding director of the Molecular Life Sciences Ph.D. program in 2003, and of the joint UZH–ETH Life Science Graduate School in 2005. In 1997, together with T. Bogaert, Michael founded Devgen, a developmental genomics company based in Gent, Belgium; in 2005, Devgen became a publicly traded company listed on the Euronext Brussels. In 2008, together with Ernst Hafen, Michael founded Evaluescience, a scientific due diligence company. Michael was awarded several medals and scientific prizes, among others the Credit Suisse Award for Best Teaching at UZH in 2010. Michael is a member of the board of WORLD.MINDS.
Margarita Heredia-Forster is founder and director of Fundacion and Atelier Avanzar. The „Fundacion Avanzar“ was created in 1999 with the aim of supporting underprivileged women and children in Margarita’s homeland Ecuador. Today, Avanzar runs and promotes several feminist economics programs. The „Atelier Avanzar“ is a social enterprise launched in 2009 offering unemployed women the opportunity to learn and apply income-generating activities. In Switzerland since 1995, Margarita lives together with her husband and two children.
Björn Hering (born in Bern) is a Swiss entrepreneur, TV and film producer living in Bali. He started his career as a TV and radio presenter at the age of 14 and worked for over sixty TV shows in Switzerland and Germany. From the age of 18 onwards, he produced his own TV formats. He then studied business at the University of Bern and trained to be a teacher. In 2001 he founded the TV production company FaroTV . After having sold his company to the renowned Condor Films in Zurich, he served on the executive board of Condor Films for several years. His show „Joya runs“ earned the „Rose d‘or“ for „best interactive TV Show“. He left the company in 2008 and – after a well-deserved break traveling around Europe in a old caravan – founded several media companies in Switzerland, Singapore and LosAngeles. He decided to put down roots with his Swiss wife and two children in Bali in order to live the spiritual and business life. He started the Bali Beach cleanup initiative and is president of a drug rehabilitation program for teenagers in Namibia. He is a mediocre surfer and a passionate private pilot doing aerobatics with a vintage airplane from World War II.
Thomas Hofmann (born in 1966) has spent more than 25 years on improving the design of intelligent machines and on advancing their use in the real-world. He is currently a professor in the Computer Science Department at ETH Zurich and has previously held various academic positions at TU Darmstadt, Brown University, UC Berkeley and MIT. His industry experience includes 8 years at Google, during which he helped built-up the Zurich engineering center as well as time spent on starting-up companies, including Recommind (now OpenText) and – most recently – 1plusX.
Corinna Hoyer is the Chief Operating Officer at WORLD.MINDS. Prior to this, she built the European business for Oxford Economics. In her role as Managing Director Europe, Corinna set up offices in key cities across the region, including their European HQ in Frankfurt. She hired and grew the diverse teams and was responsible for the business development strategy and overall revenue. At the beginning of her career, Corinna worked in Cairo and Jakarta on country branding and government consulting projects. She holds a BSc in Economics with Geography from the London School of Economics, a joint Masters degree in Politics from SciencesPo Paris, Humboldt University Berlin and the University of Bath and completed an executive degree from Saïd Business School, Oxford, in Global Business.
Andreas Hürlimann is an entrepreneur with 30 plus years international leadership experience across all technology-centric industries. Currently, he chairs the board of LEM Holding, with over 1400 employees and more than 2.5 billion market cap, focusing on sensors for e-mobility, robotics, renewable energies and other power electronics applications. He also chairs the board of Sustainable Real-Estate SICAV, a transformative RE investment vehicle to apply holistic sustainability concepts with defined energy and climate objectives and corresponding reduction paths. Andreas also actively contributes to the Boards of Condis (components for energy transmission), HMT microelectronic (Chip design, i.p. ASIC and ASSP), Steiner Investment Foundation, (RE development), ElectricFeel AG (SaaS for shared e-mobility) and novoMOF (novel materials for CO2 capture, humidity management, etc.). He is the founder of the boutique consultancy themissinglink and holds an MSc from ETH Zurich as well as a DAS in Corporate Finance from the University of Zurich.
Sara and Christoph Hürlimann are serial entrepreneurs and active Investors. The couple has been working together since 2003 both as founders and co-CEOs.Their largest company is zahnarztzentrum.ch, a chain of dental clinics with 800 employees of which a majority was sold to Migros 2020. They have founded and co-founded further companies in healthcare services like physiozentrum, Arzthaus (exited) and Kinderarzthaus. Together they have five children and live in the city of Zürich.
Marco Hutter is an assistant professor for robotic systems at ETH Zurich, a Branco Weiss alumni and co-founder of ANYbotics AG. He studied mechanical engineering and conducted his doctoral degree in robotics at ETH. In his work, Marco focuses on the design and intelligence of legged robotic systems that can work in challenging environments. He is part of the National Centre of Competence in Research in robotics (NCCR Robotics) and Digital Fabrication (NCCR dfab) as well as coordinator of several research projects and industrial collaborations that target the application of high-mobile autonomous vehicles for search and rescue, industrial inspection, or construction operation. Besides his research activity, Marco is a passionate soccer player.
Sandra Iglesias is a psychologist and neuroscientist at the Translational Neuromodeling Unit, housed at the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich. There she works on computational models of brain function, EEG, and brain-body interactions using transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation (tVNS). tVNS is a fascinating brain stimulation technique with great potential for preventing stress-related conditions, such as burnout, and for treating depression. Sandra is very passionate about investigating how stress has an impact on bodily states and how changes in bodily states might affect human decision making and belief updating. In her spare time Sandra really enjoys playing the saxophone.
Martin Janik is a Senior Editor Non-Fiction with Piper Verlag (Munich), one of the leading German publishing houses. The focus of his list is on History, Current Affairs, Politics, Psychology, Memoir and other related fields, with many high-ranking authors both from the German speaking countries and from abroad. Prior to his current position he worked for Hanser Verlag as an Executive Editor, and for Droemer Verlag as a Nonfiction Editor. He studied English and French literature and linguistics in Heidelberg, Durham (UK), and Paris, with teaching engagements at the École Normale Supérieure de Fontenay-aux-Roses and the École Nationale de la Statistique et de l’Administration Économique (ENSAE) in Paris. He has a passion for foreign languages and has studied English, French, Mandarin, Spanish, Italian, and Dutch.
Maximilian Sebastian Janisch is a prodigy mathematician. The high school Gymnasium Immensee accepted him as a student when he was only 8 years old. At the age of 9 years, he passed the final high school exams in mathematics with top marks. The Rector of the University of Zurich at the time was WORLD.MINDS board member Michael Hengartner, and he and the formerly director of the Institute of mathematics, Prof. Thomas Kappeler, initiated a special learning programme for Maximillian within the Junior Euler Society (named after the great Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler). This program was under the direction of the italian mathematician Prof. Camillo De Lellis. In September 2015, at the age of 12 years, Maximillian was accepted by the french University of Perpignan into the second year of mathematics, as a regular immatriculation in Switzerland was not possible at the time. He followed all of their mathematics courses and obtained his Licence (the french equivalent of the Bachelor) in the beginning of 2020. In the summer of 2018, at the age of 15, Maximillian finished all high school exams and got matriculated as a regular student at the University of Zurich, parallel to his studies in France. In November 2020, Maximilian earned his Master’s degree at the University of Zürich under the supervision of Prof. Camillo De Lellis. At 19 years old, he is now the youngest doctoral student of mathematics in Switzerland, under the direction of Prof. Ashkan Nikeghbali (main advisor), Prof. Alessio Figalli (co-advisor) and Prof. Artur Avila (co-advisor) at the University of Zürich. Maximilian’s main interests in mathematics are partial differential equations and pure probability theory, as well as applications of probability theory in the areas of deep learning and mathematical finance.
Marc Jaquet was born and raised in Basel. After studying Economics at the University of Basel, he started his life as entrepreneur. He built up a global sensor company that he sold in 2016 to a large US corporation. As an entrepreneur and investor, he is Chairman of the Board of Directors of several large industrial companies, and is a member of the Public Opinion Committee of PricewaterhouseCoopers. He served for over 20 years as Chairman of the Employers’ Association for the canton of Basel Stadt. He is Chairman and owner of his family office JaquetPartners
Andreas H. Joehle is Partner at the Ufenau Capital Partners AG. He has over 30 years of operational experience in the healthcare sector and was the global CEO of the listed HARTMANN Group for 6 years before joining Ufenau Capital Partners. Paul Hartmann AG is a leading international provider of nursing and medical products with sales of EUR 2.5bn and 11’000 employees at more than 70 locations. Prior Paul Hartmann, Andreas lead the Surgical Division at the Swedish Mölnlycke Health Care Group with sales of EUR 600m and over 5’000 employees and also worked internationally for the Danish Coloplast Group and the 3M Group. In 2016 he graduated as Certified Director (INSEAD, Fontainebleau), in addition to his studies at INSEAD (Fontainebleau/Singapore), IMD (Lausanne) and Duke University (North Carolina).
Nicole Joller (born in 1978) studies how the immune system is regulated with her research group at the University of Zurich. Stemming from her desire to understand why the immune system induces beneficial or detrimental responses when faced with different challenges, Nicole has a background in different aspects of immunology. She obtained her PhD at ETH Zurich studying the immune response to infections and then changed perspectives with her post-doc at Harvard Medical School in Boston to work on autoimmunity and checkpoint-inhibitors, which have recently gained much attention as breakthrough cancer therapies. In her research group at the University of Zurich, Nicole combines her two fields of expertise to study immune regulation in infectious settings, aiming to unravel how the infection history on an individual shapes the immune system and influences susceptibility to other diseases later in life.
Christian Jund (born 1968) is founder and CEO of the Münchner Verlagsgruppe GmbH, a Munich-based publishing house. He started working as a trader and shifted millions of Euro with only a click of his mouse, until he decided to make a living doing something he liked even more: publishing books! As practically none of the books of big traders were translated into German in the ’90s, the choice was an easy one: he became a publisher for books written by key U.S. traders, and for books on the subject of trading in general. In 1997, he founded FinanzBuch Verlag, today’s biggest publisher of trading classics in German. Meanwhile, he is the owner and CEO of Münchner Verlagsgruppe, a publishing house with five imprints: FinanzBuch Verlag, riva Verlag, mvg Verlag, redline and mi-Fachverlag. Until October 2012, he listed 15 different titles at the well-respected “Spiegel” bestseller list, thereof two ranked first.
Bertrand Jungo is Board delegate of Kulm group, the leading luxury hotel group in St. Moritz. Prior to his board career, he was CEO of Manor, the leading Swiss Department Store Group in Switzerland. After having completed his university degree in business administration and economics in Fribourg, he started working for Manor. He got to know the retail business from scratch by starting as a sales assistant and going through several management functions up to the position of CEO which he occupied during 11 years. Bertrand is passionate about customers, people and leadership and contributes his expertise in different committees and organizations. He is member of the Board of Directors of Galenica, Kulm Group, Neoperl and Zoo Basle. Bertrand was born in Fribourg. He is married and has two adult daughters. In his leisure time, he enjoys having surprising culinary experiences, culture in all dimensions and travelling.
Momoyo Kaijima (born in Tokyo) graduated from the Faculty of Domestic Science at Japan Women’s University in 1991. She founded Atelier Bow-Wow with Yoshiharu Tsukamoto in 1992. In 1994 she received her master degree from the Tokyo Institute of Technology. During 1996-1997 she was a guest student with scholarship from Switzerland at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich (ETHZ). In 2000 she completed her post-graduate program at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. She served as an assistant professor at the Art and Design School of the University of Tsukuba since 2000, and as an associate professor since 2009. In 2012 she received the RIBA International Fellowship. From 2017 she has been serving as a Professor of Architectural Behaviorology at ETHZ. She taught at Harvard GSD (2003, 2016), guest professor at ETHZ (2005-07), as well as at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts (2011-12), Rice University (2014-15), Delft University of Technology (2015-16), and Columbia University (2017). While engaging in design projects for houses, public buildings and station plazas, she has conducted numerous investigations of the city through architecture such as Made in Tokyo and Pet Architecture. She was the curator of Japan Pavilion at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia.
Lida Kanari is a junior group leader in Blue Brain Project, EPFL, Lausanne. Lida is passionate about mathematics and neuroscience and has made significant contributions in the field of neuronal morphologies. Lida has a MSc in Applied Mathematics and Physics and a MSc Computational Fluid Mechanics from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece. She was awarded her PhD from EPFL in Computational Neuroscience. Besides her scientific carreer, Lida is interested in theater, music, photography and writing and enjoys hiking, biking and kayaking.
Caroline Karmann is a professor at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany, where she has been leading the Laboratory for Architecture and Intelligent Living (AIL) since 2022. Specialized in the visual, thermal and acoustic perception of spaces, Caroline now focuses on universal sustainable design. Trained as an architect and engineer, with a PhD from UC Berkeley, she has worked as a daylighting and energy consultant at Transsolar in Germany, as a research coordinator at Arup in the UK, and most recently as a scientist at EPFL in Switzerland. This last place of living has allowed Caroline to devote more time to her passion for the mountains.
Mika Kastenholz (born in Finland) is an exotic and corporate derivatives trader, having worked at Credit Suisse in London and Zurich for several years. Mika holds a Ph.D. in theoretical biophysics from the ETH Zurich for which he was awarded the ETH Medal in 2005. His thesis deals with the analysis and efficient computational implementation of long-range many-body potentials in classical and quantum systems. He has worked in banking as well as Fintech and currently heads fixed income exotic derivatives trading for Credit Suisse in Hong Kong.
Philipp Keel is an artist, author and the publisher of Diogenes. He studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston and the Hochschule für Film und Fernsehen in Munich, before moving to California and working in various artistic disciplines. His photographs, paintings, watercolors, drawings and prints have since been shown in numerous international exhibitions and are present in leading collections. He became known for his bestselling series All About Me and All About Us (Random House, 1998/2000), for Color (Steidl, 2004) and the series Keel’s Simple Diary (TASCHEN, 2009/2011). In 2014, his project State of Mind (Nieves, 2014) was shown at Villa Flor in S-chanf and in 2018 at Apalazzo Gallery in Brescia. His photographs were presented in 2013 at Camera Work in Berlin, in 2017 and 2019 with Splash (Steidl, 2015) and Last Summer (Steidl, 2021) at Bildhalle in Zurich. In spring 2023, part of his studio will move to Berlin for an exhibition project. With the drawings and paintings from the ›Jakob and Philipp Keel Collection‹ he initiates museum exhibitions. In addition, he has been accompanying international film and television projects with Diogenes Entertainment as a producer. In 2022 he received the ›Premio Enrico Filippini‹ for his work as a publisher. Philipp lives and works in Zurich.
Christoph Keese is executive vice president of Axel Springer, Europe’s largest news publisher and leading digital media company. He leads the effort to transform traditional and print publishing to digital and define Axel Springer’s position in the new ecosystem of quality web media. Prior to his current position, Christoph was senior vice president Public Affairs and Investor Relations. He served as editor-in-chief for the leading Sunday newspaper “Welt am Sonntag” from May 2004 onwards, acting in parallel as editor-in-chief of news portal Welt Online from 2006 until 2008 as well as heading the board of editors of Welt Group. Christoph came to Axel Springer from “Financial Times Deutschland” (FTD) business newspaper, the German language edition of the “FT,” which he co-founded and served as its editor-in-chief. Prior to “FTD,” he was managing editor and business editor for “Berliner Zeitung.” An economist and graduate of the Hamburg Journalists’ School / Henri Nannen School, Christoph joined Gruner + Jahr as assistant to CEO Gerd Schulte-Hillen after completing his professional training. Throughout his career, Christoph has been active in television. He is a constant guest on German talk shows. From 2005 to 2007, he hosted his own show on news channel n-tv and national radio interviewing almost all German bluechip CEOs and many international executives including Steve Ballmer of Microsoft. In 2011, he presented a weekly n-tv portrait series featuring dozens of European business leaders. Starting in 2009, Christoph became member and later chairman of the jury of “Deutscher Fernsehpreis,” the national TV award. As an author, Christoph focuses on economic policy. He is the author of the widely noted books “Rettet den Kapitalismus”—Save Capitalism—(Hoffmann und Campe, 2004) and “Verantwortung jetzt”—Responsibility Now—(C. Bertelsmann, 2006). He runs a private blog, presseschauder.de, on media and internet policy.
Adrian T. Keller has been a member of the Board of Directors of DKSH Holding Ltd. since its formation and Chairman of the Board from 2004 till 2019. Since 2000, he has been Vice Chairman of Diethelm Keller Holding Ltd., a family holding company and anchor shareholder of DKSH. Since 1991, he has been on the Board of Eduard Keller Holding the predecessor company of Diethelm Keller Holding Ltd. During his earlier career, Adrian worked for over 20 years on Wall street where he was a partner in a NASD firm and subsequent in a private investment firm. Adrian is also Vice Chairman of Bergos, a Swiss Private Bank owned by a group of entrepreneurial families. Pro bono he serves on the Board of the Tonhalle Gesellschaft (Symphonic Orchestra) Zurich as well as on the on the Executive Committee of the Swiss Advisory Council of the American Swiss Foundation. Adrian is Chairman and Co-Founder of Asia Society Switzerland and a Global Trustee of Asia Society. He also serves on the Advisory Board of the University of St. Gallen, his alma mater. Adrian is strongly committed to supporting children’s education and development through active engagement in several foundations.
Martin Keller is the Chief Executive Officer of IHAG Privatbank since January 2021. From 2017 to 2020, Martin was CEO of Falcon Private Bank and a member of the advisory board at Aquila Capital in Hamburg, the leading global asset manager in the renewable energy sector. Previously, Martin held various international senior leadership positions at Credit Suisse, Man Investments and Deutsche Bank. Martin is a graduate of the Swiss Banking School.
Monika Kern-Glauser is a freelance conference interpreter and translator for German, English, and French. An avid reader and music-lover, she enjoys all things well-composed. Pilates, yoga, and long walks with her dog Charlie keep her body and mind in balance.
Daniel Kessler is the System Leader & Managing Partner of Boston Consulting Group in Switzerland and also serves on BCG’s European Leadership Team. In his client work, Daniel focuses on large scale transformation programs in Financial Services, Technology as well as adjacent industries, both in transforming the core as well as building new businesses. He works with senior leaders of a broad variety of clients across the globe, from multinational companies over private equity owned firms to family owned businesses. Between 2012 and 2017, Daniel served as BCG’s global leader for wealth management and private banking. Daniel lived in the UK, in Singapore and in the United States and has worked with Financial Institutions in Switzerland, Europe, the U.S.A., and Southeast Asia. Daniel studied business administration at the University of St. Gallen (HSG) in Switzerland.
Reema Khan is founder of Green Sands Equity (a multi family office investment firm that later grew to become a private equity firm that focuses on co-investments with family offices). GSE Invests in Space, Technology, Healthcare, and Future Tech. Green Sands was ranked in top 5 investors in the U.S. by Fortune Magazine in 2022. Green Sands has invested in iconic companies like Spotify, SpaceX, Airbnb, and Synchron. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, Green Sands has offices in Zurich, Doha, and Singapore. Reema also specializes in strategic advisory for governments in their branding for Foreign Direct Investment. GSE’s vast political and diplomatic network makes GSE one of the top strategy advisors to governments. Since 2018, Reema has been a Managing Member of the United Nations Women in Science & Technology Platform on behalf of Royal Academy of Science International. In 2017, Reema was awarded the 21st Century Icon Award in Finance by CNBC. In philanthropic endeavors, in 2019, Reema started the “Green Sands Prize” which honors an individual or organization with the potential for profound impact. Reema is a trustee of the SETI Institute and seeded their Endowment Fund. SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) was previously a division of NASA, later privatized.
Andreas R. Kirchschläger is CEO of elea, a leading Swiss philanthropic impact investor fighting poverty with entrepreneurial means, and President of the Max Schmidheiny Foundation, a distinguished private institution promoting endeavours towards the preservation and further development of a free economic and social order. As Managing Director and President of the St. Gallen Foundation for International Studies, he led the annual International Management Symposium St. Gallen for more than one decade. He serves as a board member of GCA Altium Corporation AG, Blue Earth Capital AG (formerly known as PG Impact Investments), some of elea’s portfolio companies as well as the HSG Foundation und The St. Gallen Endowment for Prosperity through Trade (SGEPT). Andreas holds a Master’s degree in Law and Economics from the University of St. Gallen and has been a lecturer at his alma mater for years. Personal note: Andreas is married and has two sons. He loves sports (basketball, hiking), politics, and history.
Stefan Kirsten is Co-Founder and Chief Financial Officer of MONARCH; a private intelligence organization for the 21st century, which specialises in democracy-tech. He has been CFO and Member of the Management Board of Vonovia SE from 2011 until 2018. Vonovia SE is Europe’s biggest provider of residential real estate. Stefan´s professional career goes along with his excellent reputation in the international financial market place as well as financial accounting and controlling. He successfully managed Europe’s largest-ever residential refinancing also being awarded with the European Real Estate Finance Deal of Year 2013 for its GRAND refinancing by The Banker magazine and has been Germany’s CFO of the year in 2017. Since leaving Vonovia he attends to various non-executive directorships and invests as a business angel. His engagement in Switzerland comprises of an investment and a seat in the administrative board of Planted Food AG. When not traveling or teachig at varios universities, Stefan enjoys the quietness and beauty at his home at the North Sea.
Victor Klemm is currently pursuing his MSc studies in Robotics, Systems, and Control at ETH Zurich. Since his BSc studies, Victor is part of the Ascento project: The development of a bipedal wheeled-legged jumping robot. During this time, Victor gained expertise in modeling a complex robotic system and creating an appropriate control framework, while collaborating in a diverse and versatile team environment.
Jasmina Knežević, founder and CEO of Bel Medic, started her professional carrier as pediatrician in a public hospital. Over the years, Bel Medic became the leading private health system in Serbia with a general hospital and out-patient clinic, on 5 locations, with 500 full-time employees, more than 400 leading consultant physicians and over 500.000 patients. Jasmina is permanently devoted and active in the creation of a better business environment. As the leader in the private healthcare sector, a member of the Healthcare Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Managing Board of the Serbian Association of Managers, a member of Serbian business club “Privrednik”, as well as a founder and member of Executive board of Association of Serbian Private Healthcare Providers, she has a great impact on the changes taking place in the private sector, mostly in the medical field, which has resulted in numerous awards. During the pandemic, Jasmina won the traditional prize “The Manager of the Year” for 2020. She was willing to take the risk and make everyone around her safe during the pandemic simultaneously demonstrating courage, positivism, determination, constructiveness and quick adaptation to new circumstances, while successfully managing Acibadem Bel Medic healthcare system, its staff, doctors and patients. In 2019, she won the Award “Paragon of Virtue“ by Mokra Gora School of Management. Also, it is important to mentioned that Jasmina won the award “Woman Leader in Change” given by the American Chamber of Commerce in Serbia in 2014, as well as many other awards. Today, Jasmina is CEO of Acibadem Bel Medic group. Through strategic integration with the world renowned healthcare provider Acibadem, Jasmina recognized the need for bringing the highest quality of healthcare services to Serbia and thus, making her contribution to the Serbian economy.
Charlotte Knierim is a second year PhD student in the Institute of Theoretical Computer Science at ETH Zurich. She works under the supervision of Angelika Steger. She holds a Master’s degree in Computer Science from ETH Zurich. She works at the intersection of Computer Science and Mathematics. Her research interests include Extremal Combinatorics, Ramsey Theory and Graph Theory.
Maria Knobelsdorf is professor for Computer Science Education and Informatics Didactics at Uni Wien (Vienna, Austria) as well as Dean for Education at the Computer Science Department of Uni Wien. Her research interests are students learning Computing & Data Literacy in tertiary and secondary education. She is engaged with questions regarding student motivation and interest for digital technology and computational foundations (particularly students not interested in STEM); pedagogy and learning tools for coding; and Data Science Education4All. She has expertise in curriculum development, learning assessment, and cognitive ethnography studies, all related to Computer Science and computational foundations. Maria majored in Informatik (Computer Science) and obtained her Dr.-degree in Computer Science Education, both from Freie Universität Berlin (Berlin, Germany). Formerly, she has been an assistant professor at Universität Hamburg (Germany) and a consultant for the “New York City Foundation for Computer Science Education (CSNYC)” (New York, USA).
Xavier Koller is a Swiss film director and screenwriter. His film “Journey of Hope” won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1990. After graduating from high school, he first went through a four-year apprenticeship as a precision toolmaker and then, after three years of training at the Academy of Drama in Zurich, graduated as an actor/director. The next several years he spent acting and directing at German and Swiss theaters. He did a number of TV-plays as an actor, directed commercials, acted in movies, and then started to write and direct feature films. To this day Xavier still is the only Swiss writer/director to ever win an Oscar for one of his movies.
Károly Christian Köpe is the founding member and Managing Partner of akademie dialog sante. Prior to this, he was the Head of Strategy and Business Development at Galenica.
Roger Köppel is the Chief Editor and Publisher of Weltwoche Verlags. Educated in Zurich, Stuttgart, and New York, Roger graduated in political philosophy and economics (M.A.) at Zurich University. He is one of the most prominent journalists of Switzerland. He was editor-in-chief of the weekly magazine, “Das Magazin,” from 1997 to 2001, and was the youngest deputy editor-in-chief in the history of Switzerland’s largest quality daily “Tages-Anzeiger” back in 2001. He gained national stature as editor-in-chief of Switzerland’s most traditional highbrow weekly “Die Weltwoche,” which was founded in 1933, and in which the writings from leading European intellectuals from Thomas Mann to Winston Churchill and Henry Kissinger could be found. Roger’s work drew international attention at “Die Weltwoche,” as he changed the format of the paper into a magazine and made it highly profitable again. In 2004, he got a call from Germany ’s largest publishing company, Springer Verlag, and took over the post of editor-in-chief at the traditional quality daily, “Die Welt,” located in Berlin. He was the first Swiss journalist ever to be appointed editor-in-chief of a German daily newspaper. After three years in Berlin, Roger went back to Switzerland and became publisher of “Die Weltwoche” in 2007, which he bought from the former ownership. He still writes articles for the editorial pages of “Die Welt.” As a writer, Roger is one of the leading conservative and free trade journalists of Switzerland. His articles have appeared in “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung,” “Die Welt,” “The Wall Street Journal” and “The Spectator” of London. Roger has strong transatlantic ties and supported the American position before the war in Iraq. He does not share most of the intellectual habits of European mainstream media and is considered to be an original, independent thinker and provocative commentator among his peers. Besides, he has a reputation as a successful newspaper manager and an energetic leader.
Tien Köppel is the Digital Marketing Manager at Weltwoche.
Ralph Körfgen is the Managing Director of Ambulatory & Pharmacy Information Systems. He has held global responsibility for the Ambulatory & Pharmacy Information Systems divisions since 2018. Prior to this, he worked at Deutsche Bahn, where he was in charge of corporate development and the CEO of sales; before this, he worked at Roland Berger & Partner and specialized in the development of growth potential in various industries. Ralph studied business administration at the University of Münster and has extensive experience in tapping new markets and the growth of digital business models.
Anna Maria Koukal is a postdoctoral researcher at the university of Fribourg and the Distance Learning University of Switzerland. Since 2019, she is president of the European Association of Young Economists (EAYE). Her economic research lies at the crossroads of political economy, political science and sociology. She is interested in the conditions and consequences of political power sharing through the enfranchisement of new groups such as women, foreigners or young adults. Anna Maria has been a recipient of a German scholarship (Cusanuswerk) and was awarded the Paul-Vigener Price 2019 for her PhD thesis. She spends her free time on horseback and participates in competitions of the National Cutting Horse Association.
Laura Kovacs is a full professor of computer science at the TU Wien, leading the automated program reasoning (APRe) group of the Formal Methods in Systems Engineering division. Prior to her professorship appointment at TU Wien, she has been a full professor at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, and an assistant professor at TU Wien. She also worked as postdoc at EPFL Lausanne and ETH Zürich, and received a PhD in computer science from JKU Linz with highest distinction. Laura’s research focuses on the design and development of new technologies and tools for trustworthy software development. Her work provides fully automated solutions towards generating and proving computer properties that prevent programmers introducing errors while making change in their codes. In this regard, she designs computer-supported techniques for algebra-based analysis of software loops/recursion, probabilistic reasoning, and automated theorem proving. She is the co-developer of the award-winning Vampire theorem prover and a Wallenberg Academy Fellow of Sweden. Her research has also been awarded with a ERC Starting Grant 2014, an ERC Proof of Concept Grant 2018, and an ERC Consolidator Grant 2020 from the European Research Council (ERC), as well as with an Amazon Research Award 2020.
Andreas Krause is a machine learning and AI researcher and Professor of Computer Science at ETH Zurich. He also serves as Academic Co-Director of the Swiss Data Science Center and Chair of the ETH AI Center, and co-founded the ETH spinoff LatticeFlow on trustworthy AI. Before that, Andreas was an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Caltech, after receiving his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University and his Diplom in Computer Science and Mathematics from the Technical University of Munich. Andreas is a Max Planck Fellow at the Institute of Intelligent Systems, an ELLIS Fellow and a Microsoft Research Faculty Fellow. He received ERC Starting Investigator and Consolidator grants, the Rössler Prize, the German Pattern Recognition Award, Test of Time awards at KDD and ICML, as well as the ETH Golden Owl teaching award. He served as Program Co-Chair for the International Conference on Machine Learning 2018 and is an Action Editor for the Journal of Machine Learning Research.
Fabian Krug is Director of Partnerships at WORLD.MINDS. Before joining WORLD.MINDS, he helped building the European Business Development team of Oxford Economics, the leading provider of economic forecasts and consulting. After starting as a Business Development Manager, he then acted as the Deputy Head of the DACH BD team, implementing new sales strategies and being responsible for a variety of sectors. Fabian holds a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from the University of Erfurt and a M.Sc. in Economics from the University of Leipzig.
Uwe Krüger is the Head of Industrials, Business Services, Energy & Resources at Singapore-based Temasek, where he also serves as the Head of Europe, Middle East & Africa. Uwe was most recently the Chief Executive Officer of WS Atkins plc and was responsible for one of the world’s largest engineering firms providing professional, technology-based consultancy and support services for clients in both the private and public sectors globally. Prior to Atkins, Uwe was the President of Cleantech Switzerland. He was also an Operations Director and Senior Adviser with TPG Capital based in London and San Francisco. Before TPG Capital, Uwe was the Chief Executive Officer of OC Oerlikon Management AG and had assumed multiple roles with Hochtief AG, among them Chief Executive Officer Central/Eastern Europe (Warsaw, Moscow) and Chairman Turner International (Dallas/US). He started his career as a Project Manager with A.T. Kearney. In addition, Uwe serves on the Boards of Aggreko plc and Gategroup Holding AG. Uwe holds a Doctorate of Physics from University of Frankfurt and was conferred a Honorary Doctorate from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. He also holds an Honorary Professorship of Physics at Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt. He received the European Chief Executive Officer of the Year Award in 2016.
Axel Kuehner is the CEO of Greiner, an Austrian company that processes plastics in areas as diverse as food packaging and medical technology. He became CEO in 2009 – until that time, the company had been managed by the family for four generations. Prior to this, he had made a stellar career at Daimler in Germany – at the young age of 38, he had made it to the second highest management level.
Ekkehard Kuppel pursues his purpose of helping executives take their heart to work. He does this through two vehicles: sum people, a consulting boutique that he founded supporting executive teams to become high performance teams; and through Mountain Wisdom that he co-founded as a forum for leaders to reflect on the fundamental questions of life, i.e. what is your purpose is life? why are you doing what you are doing? Previously, Ekkehard held various international leadership positions as executive, entrepreneur and investor. He served as a partner at McKinsey & Co. (Buenos Aires, Munich); founder of Eki Discount, Latin America’s first discount chain; CEO of 20 Min Holding, the free newspaper; managing director of Jacobs AG, the investment holding with major participations in Adecco, Barry Callebaut, and Infront; and president of Adecco Human Capital Solutions headquartered in New York. Ekkehard graduated as an economic engineer from TU Karlsruhe, holds a DEA from Université Paris Dauphine and a Ph.D. in economics from St. Gallen.
Salomé Kurth (born in 1982) is a biologist and ambitious sleep researcher. She was promoted by the University of Zurich (Clinical Research Priority Program) in 2016 to bridge the disciplines of sleep-wake regulation, neurophysiology, behaviour maturation and the gut microbiota in infants. Since 2019 Salome holds a professorial fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation at the Department of Psychology at the University of Fribourg. Salome mentors a multicultural team of young academics. She is also passionate about a modernisation of the current academic leadership construct. Her values involve transparent open-access science and a cross-disciplinary dialogue. Her vision is a top-sharing professorial co-lead with Caroline Lustenberger. Salome likes hiking, bivouac and dancing and she practices yoga and mindfulness.
Vladimir Kuznetsov is the CEO of Kodori in Switzerland. He has 30 years of experience in M&A, financial consulting and investment and at different times occupied senior positions at Renova Group. He served as a Deputy Chairman and Chairman of the Board (ad interim) at Sulzer, Ltd, the Chairman of Oerlikon Group. He served as Vice Chairman of Schmolz + Bickenbach AG and as a Board member of a number of other company boards. In 1992-1998, Vladimir was Deputy General Director at Goldman Sachs in Moscow and the General Director of the Moscow branch of Solomon Brothers. Vladimir has a PhD in economics from the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, a Master’s degree in international relations from the School of International and Public Affairs of Columbia University, and a diploma in mathematical economics from Moscow State University.
Thomas Ladner is an attorney at law, a professional board member and an investor. He started his legal career with the law firm Homburger in Zurich. From 2000 to 2004, he lectured on corporate law and contract law at the University of St. Gallen HSG, from where he also holds a Ph.D. In 2002, he joined one of Switzerland’s leading law firms, MLL Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Froriep, as their youngest Partner. In 2009, Thomas moved on to become Partner at a San Francisco-based Private Equity firm in charge of their European investments (until 2014) while simultaneously serving as Counsel with MLL, a position he still holds. In addition, he acts as professional board member in more than a dozen companies ranging from biotech and blockchain start-ups to mature companies in the construction, investment, trading and service industries. Since 2021, he is also a Partner at Green Sands Equity, a Silicon Valley-based Private Equity firm. In a personal capacity, Thomas founded and co-founded a number of tech and financial services businesses, two of which went public. Throughout his professional life, Thomas has been passionate about creating communities of business and thought leaders. In 1999, he founded the Entrepreneurs’ Roundtable (with chapters in Switzerland, Germany, France, Holland and Poland), which he still chairs. He continued to co-found several other organizations such as the prestigious Club zum Rennweg (Honorary Chairman), the Zurich-based Grasshopper Griffith-Club (Founding Vice-Chairman until 2006) and WORLD.MINDS Foundation (Founding Chairman until 2018). He also served on the board of the Swiss Management Association (Schweizerische Management Gesellschaft SMG) for seven years. In addition he is engaged on a board-level with the Swiss Society of Defence Technology (STA). The leading Swiss business publication Bilanz has described Thomas as one of Switzerland’s “most influential business lawyers”.
Marie Francine Lagadec (born in Japan) is Program Coordinator of NCCR Catalysis at ETH Zürich, which develops carbon-neutral chemical value chains. Previously, she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Collège de France, Paris on battery designs towards green hydrogen production, and on smart and safe Li-ion batteries. For the latter, she was awarded the Young Energy Storage Scientist Award by the French Network on Electrochemical Energy Storage. Marie Francine holds a PhD and engineering degrees from ETH Zürich. As a student, she led projects that won awards at international innovation contests in engineering. During her PhD, she co-founded a network for female engineering PhD students and researchers at ETH Zurich, and its successor organisation on diversity and inclusion.
Claus-Dietrich Lahrs is the CEO of the s.Oliver Group, a position which he has held since 2019. His professional career began in 1990 at Delton, a member of the Quandt Group. From 1992 onwards, his other stations included the Cartier brand of the Swiss Richemont Group, for which he worked until 1997. From 1995 to 1997, he was sales and marketing manager for the entire Northern European region. He then moved to Bernard Arnault’s French luxury group Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH). There he managed the Louis Vuitton brand, for which he was responsible for the North American business in New York, among other places, until 2004. He then returned to Paris and took over the fashion branch of Christian Dior (Dior Couture) in Paris as Managing Director with global responsibility. In August 2008, he was appointed CEO of Hugo Boss AG, a position which he left in 2016 after which he served as CEO of Italian luxury label Bottega Veneta until June 2019. He studied business administration and international management in Bochum, Cologne and Paris from 1984 to 1989. He earned a Master of Business Administration at the École des Hautes Études Commerciales in Paris.
Holger Laubenthal is Chief Executive Officer of Cembra Money Bank AG, a publicly listed bank in Switzerland. He assumed this role in March 2021. In this capacity, he leads the company’s activities in consumer loans, auto financing and leasing, credit cards, and retail financing. Holger also serves as an advisor to various companies and senior executives across the Middle East and Europe, and has been on numerous corporate boards. Previously, he was President, Consumer & Manufacturing at Alghanim Industries (Kuwait), where he oversaw the company’s operations across various businesses in the Middle East, as well as Turkey, China, and South East Asia. Prior to that, Holger was CEO of GE Inspection Technologies, a global B2B technology company, and before that CEO of Mubadala GE Capital, a 50/50 commercial finance JV between Mubadala and GE Capital. From 2011 to 2014, Holger was President and CEO of GE Money Bank Russia, and prior to that Vice President, Global Strategy for GE Capital, based in Norwalk, CT. Between 2003 and 2008, Holger held successively larger leadership roles in the GE Capital businesses in Switzerland and Germany, and several other consulting and industrial roles before that. Holger was born and raised in Germany. He holds an MBA with Distinction from Harvard Business School (2002), was a Graduate Research Scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a visiting student at UC Berkeley. In 1997, he graduated with a Diplom-Ingenieur/MS in Industrial Engineering from the Technical University of Berlin. Holger has been working with multiple charities and has been serving on numerous boards of listed and private companies, as well as investment funds. Holger is married and has two daughters.
Jean-Luc Lehners (born 1978 in Luxembourg) studied physics and mathematics at Imperial College London and at the University of Cambridge. He obtained his Ph.D. in 2005 at Imperial College for his research on braneworlds in supergravity. After holding postdoctoral positions at the University of Cambridge, Princeton University (USA) and the Perimeter Institute (Canada), he established the Theoretical Cosmology group at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) in Potsdam in 2010. Jean-Luc is the recipient of both an ERC Starting Grant and an ERC Consolidator Grant. He works on early universe cosmology, with a particular emphasis on the big bang as well as on quantum effects in cosmology.
Jorge Paulo Lemann (born in Rio de Janeiro) is an investor and co-founder of 3G Capital. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Harvard University in 1961. Jorge founded and was Senior Partner of Banco Garantia from 1971 to 1998. From then until 2005, he was a director of the Gillette Company in Boston and of Lojas Americanas and AmBev in Brazil. He was also Chairman of the Latin American Advisory Committee of the New York Stock Exchange and a member of the DaimlerChrysler International Advisory Board. He is controlling shareholder of Anheuser-Busch InBev, Restaurant Brands International (owner of Burger King, Popeyes and Tim Hortons) and Director Kraft-Heinz Company and of 3G Capital. Jorge is a co-founder of Fundação Estudar and Fundação Lemann, non-profit organizations that provide scholarships and new educational techniques for Brazilians.
Marc Lemann is a Swiss Brazilian investor and entrepreneur.
Bigna Lenggenhager is professor at the University of Zurich and head of the research group Cognitive Neuropsychology with focus Body, Self and Plasticity. After studying Psychology at University of Zurich, she did her PhD in Neuroscience at the EPFL Lausanne, followed by postdoctoral research positions in Rome, Bern and Zurich. Her work focus on the empirical investigation of multisensory integration mechanisms, bodily self consciousness and embodied cognition. For her research she combines methods from psychology, neuroscience and virtual reality. She loves developing and employing multisensory stimulation paradigms which might temporarily alter the sense of the body in surprising ways .
Filippa Lentzos is a Norwegian social scientist researching threats posed by biological agents. She is a Senior Research Fellow at King’s College London, holding a joint appointment in the Department of Global Health & Social Medicine and the Department of War Studies. Filippa also holds the position of Associate Senior Researcher at the Armament and Disarmament Programme at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Moreover, she is the NGO Coordinator for the Biological Weapons Convention since 2017, the biosecurity columnist at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 2018, and an Associate Editor of the social science journal BioSocieties. With a background in human sciences, Filippa obtained a PhD in sociology from the University of Nottingham, England. She then spent 10 years as a researcher at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) before joining the Department of Global Health & Social Medicine at King’s College London in 2012. In 2017, she became cross-appointed to King’s Department of War Studies. Filippa’s research focuses on the international governance of biological threats, especially in relation to the 1975 Biological Weapons Convention, an international treaty prohibiting the development, stockpiling, and use of biological weapons. She has published widely on biodefence, compliance assessment in the context of multilateral biological arms control efforts, and the governance of emerging life science technologies, such as synthetic biology and gene editing. In her role as the NGO Coordinator for the Biological Weapons Convention, Filippa has regularly delivered statements at the United Nations since 2017, in particular at the annual Meeting of States Parties, the Meeting of Experts and the First Committee of the UN General Assembly. Her work has been featured in various media outlets, including the BBC, The New Yorker, The Economist, The Telegraph, the Atlantic and Der Spiegel. Filippa also taught the module on biological weapons in the EU’s Non-proliferation and Disarmament e-learning course.
Robin Lingg is a multi-cultural Executive and experienced Board Member capturing business opportunities in complex market conditions through a strategic, customer centric, tech driven approach. He fuses strong management background with broad practical business expertise in Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia-Pac to impact executional Excellence and visionary leadership. He serves on several Board of Directors, including Chairman of Sportal Media Group, JobCloud, Dein Deal, imobiliare.ro and Pyramid Solutions Company Limited. He is Member of the Board of Directors of Nomoko, Pulse Africa, Scout24 Switzerland, Ringier One Africa Media (ROAM Africa) and Joveo. Until January 2020 Robin was Member of the Group Executive Board and as Head Global Marketplaces responsible for the Group`s digital marketplaces, including JobCloud AG, Scout24 Schweiz AG, geschenkidee.ch, DeinDeal AG, ejobs.ro, imobiliare.ro and many more supporting the systematic transformation of Ringier AG into an international, digital media enterprise. With Robin, Ringier successfully expanded its involvement in the digital marketplaces in the areas of real estate, cars, jobs and horizontals across across Europe, Africa and Asia. In addition, Robin was responsible for the Tech & Data business unit from the beginning of 2019 and realigned it internationally in terms of strategy and organization. Under his leadership, Ringier invested significantly in new technologies and platforms for the Group´s marketplaces and media portfolio. From June 2014 until September 2017, he was the CEO of Ringier Africa and Ringier Asia. From January 2013 to December 2014, he took over the position of Head of Business Development. Robin was one of the key drivers when Ringier Africa and One Africa Media (OAM) merged their online marketplaces in 2016 to create and expand the largest classifieds group in Africa. The joint venture, known as Ringier One Africa Media (ROAM), constitutes Africa’s leading classified ads portal. Before Robin joined Ringier, he worked in different Sales positions for the international pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH from 2006, including several years in Mexico.
Diana Lira is an independent curator and consultant. Her field of work lies in the intersection between fine arts, science and technology. With +10 years of experience in the contemporary fine arts ecosystem, Diana’s work focus on developing cross-cultural multi stakeholder collaborations – between academia, private sector, governmental and non-governmental institutions. She holds a BSc in Biology, and concluded two Master programs at the Zurich University of Arts in the field of cultural studies, the MA in Curatorial Studies and the MA in Transdisciplinary Studies in Arts. Diana concentrated her research and practice into understanding in depth the Contemporary Fine Arts System, and to comprehend how was this evolving and adjusting to the alterations caused by globalization, digitalization and extreme economization. Diana’s goal was to recognise the transformations and needs of the whole system, aiming to contribute to develop new approaches – that serve the individuals and organizations in a more sustainable, resourceful and healthier way. Currently Diana consults private initiatives, both in the fields of art and technology, as well as managing and advising emerging and established artists – in various touch points of their career development. Diana is a member of two Mexican NGOs advocating for the protection, revival and care of local indigenous communities.
Juliane A. Lischka is a professor of digital journalism at the University of Hamburg in Germany. She was a research fellow at the universities Oxford (UK), Cardiff (UK), and LMU Munich (D), and a visiting professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam (NL). Her research focuses on the intersection of technology and journalism, social media, and disinformation.
Klaus Littmann grew up in Basel. After studying art at the Düsseldorf Art Academy, where he was strongly influenced by Professor Joseph Beuys, he established himself as an international freelance mediator of contemporary art. He first made his name as an initiator and organizer of individual and group exhibitions, before turning his attention on the planning and realization of theme-oriented art exhibitions and art interventions in the public arena. Underlying each of his complex, spectacular projects is a two-pronged approach that highlights his preoccupation with everyday culture and the confrontation between contemporary art and urban spaces as they have developed over time. In 2002, Klaus received the Kulturpreis der Stadt Basel.
Ena Lloret-Fritschi is an architect with an interest in shaping concrete without the need for traditional formwork. She is the Professor of Fabrication & Material Aware Architecture at the Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI). In this role she will continue to bridge the domains of architecture and digital fabrication and material science in cementitious materials. Her work is embedded as research on mouldless shaping with concrete. Ena successfully defended her PhD Dissertation on Smart Dynamic Casting: A Digital fabrication method for concrete structures on June 16, 2016. At the 2012 Smart Dynamic Casting Competition, she received the Concrete Innovation Award at the Concrete Innovation Conference in Oslo and was amongst the 5 finalists for the SPARK award at the ETH Zurich.
Gottfried Locher (born 1966) is the former President of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches (FSPC) and of the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe (CPCE). He served as President of the Swiss Council of Religions which unites the seven leaders of the majority Religions in Switzerland. Gottfried served as Honorary Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral, London and preaches regularly nationally and internationally.
Nicole Loeb is CEO of Loeb, a leading chain of department stores in Switzerland. Nicole is the 5th generation from her family to run the business.
Sandra Luber is a Professor at the University of Zurich, where she works in the field of computational chemistry and materials design. She received her Ph.D. at ETH Zurich. After postdoctoral stays at the Biozentrum Basel and Yale University, she joined BASF in Germany where she focused on global intellectual property (U.S.A., E.U., China) and was selected for a special program for prospective leaders. Sandra’s research concentrates on the modeling of different types of (chemical) systems ranging from the exact treatment of molecules up to large complexes. Awards include the IBM Research Prize for computer modeling and simulation in chemistry, biology, and materials science as well as the ETH Medal for the outstanding Ph.D. thesis. She was the first theoretician to receive the Clara Immerwahr Award and Jochen Block Award from the German catalysis society. Moreover, she has been the first female scientist to obtain the Hans G.A. Hellmann Award and the Robin Hochstrasser Young Investigator Award and was the recipient of awards from the Swiss, German and American chemical societies. Her current emphasis lays on functional materials for renewable energy applications, aiming at novel strategies for the design of efficient catalysts and smart characterization thereof. Besides her interest in natural sciences and law, she has been passionate about music since she was a child. She plays several instruments and was awarded prizes at a number of music competitions.
Andreas Ludwig is a Member of the Executive Board of Umdasch Group AG and member of a number of Supervisory Boards of privately held Corporations in Austria. He is also a member of the Board of the Think Tank Agenda Austria in Vienna.
Bernard Lukey is the former CEO of Schenk Holding, currently active as Business Angel and Independent Board member. Before that he was CEO of Yandex Europe, the company’s European sales office based in Lucerne. Prior to working at Yandex, he served as chief executive officer of one of Russia’s largest online stores, OZON.ru. Earlier in his career, he held a position of marketing executive at Nestlé and Nespresso SA. Bernard has been able to successfully apply his international business experience in the fast-paced Russian economy since 1996, when he came to Russia to manage marketing at Nestlé Food LLC and, later, at the private equity firm Baring Vostok Capital Partners. Bernard holds an M.A. degree in political sciences from Lausanne University and is an advisory board member of the Jean Monnet Foundation for Europe. He is Gold member in the YPO Alpine Chapter – Geneva.
Sergei Lupashin (born in Russia) is the founder of Perspective Robotics AG, the company behind the Fotokite. An aerial robotics entrepreneur, his work includes autonomous cars, next-generation UAVs and robotics for hazardous environments. Sergei presented work from the ETH Flying Machine Arena at the 2008 Annual Symposium and at other venues. He is a TED Fellow and holds a PhD from ETH Zurich.
Caroline Lustenberger (born in Lucerne) is a junior group leader at ETH Zurich and was awarded a SNSF Ambizione career grant in 2019. She is further the Chair of the European Sleep Research Society Gender Equality Forum. Caroline’s research centers around the characterization and modulation of brain activity during sleep to promote recovery processes of brain and body across the age and health span. She combines in-lab, mechanistic studies with long-term, real-life experiments using new wearable devices. In one of her newest projects, she seeks to combine this methodology to establish an early detection of Alzheimer’s disease before symptoms arise using wearable and integral approaches that can be deployed at low-cost, everywhere in the world. Caroline loves solving riddles, be it at work with her team and colleagues or at home with her family and friends. Alternatively, you can find her hiking in the beautiful mountain area of Switzerland.
Barbara Lüthi is a Journalist at Swiss Radio and Television (SRF).
Andrea V. Macciò is a professor of physics at New York University Abu Dhabi. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Milan in 2003 and then he was a research scholar at the University of Zurich for three years, in 2007, he moved to the MPIA. In 2010, he has been awarded by the Max Planck Society a grant of 1.5 million to build a research group to investigate the origin and evolution of galaxies through massive computer simulations to shed light on the mysterious dark component of our Universe. In 2015 he moved to NYUAD where he is now the Director of the Center for Astro, Particle and Planetary Physics. Besides his scientific career, Andrea is the happy father of three kids, a passionate football fan and he has been a good fencer at national and international level. He was one of the speakers at BERLIN.MINDS 2013.
Daniele Madonna is the Chief Healthcare Officer at Galenica. Daniele graduated with a Federal diploma in Pharmacy from the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ). In addition, he underwent further training at University of St Gallen and at IMD Lausanne (Executive Development program). He entered into the Galenica Group in 2004 as Manager of the Coop Vitality pharmacy in Tenero, Regional sales manager at Coop Vitality from 2010 to 2014, and CEO of Coop Vitality AG in Bern from 2014 to 2017. Since 2017 Daniele has been a Member of the Corporate Executive Committee of the Galenica Group: until December 2020 as Head of the Retail Business sector and since January 2021 as Chief Healthcare Officer.
Zina-Mary Manjaly is a Consultant Neurologist at Schulthess Clinic Zurich and a researcher at ETH Zurich. With a research focus on fatigue and other “silent symptoms” in neurological disorders, she is generally interested in combining Western and Indian concepts of salutogenesis. To this end, she has obtained a Master’s degree in Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) at the University of Oxford and is integrating contemplative approaches into her clinical and scientific work.
Isabelle Mansuy is professor in neuroepigenetics at the Medical Faculty of the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich. She obtained a Ph.D. in developmental neurobiology from the Friedrich Institute in Basel and Université Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg, France then trained as postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Eric Kandel at the Center for Learning and Memory at Columbia University in New York. She has a research lab in Zurich since Dec 1998. Her lab studies brain functions and behavior in mammals, and is pioneer in the new field of epigenetic inheritance. It discovered that traumatic experiences in early life can affect mental and physical health and cause depression, risk-taking, memory deficits and metabolic dysfunctions across several generations in lab mice, and that the inheritance of symptoms depends on epigenetic mechanisms in germ cells. These findings in experimental animals were validated in humans exposed to trauma. They are fundamental for biology and medicine because they provide evidence that adverse life experiences can leave traces in descendants through epigenetic factors, highlighting the existence of a form of epigenetic heredity complementary to classical genetics. They are expected to help the development of diagnostic and therapeutic treatments for psychiatric disorders. Isabelle co-authored numerous research articles, reviews and book chapters in neurosciences and epigenetics, wrote a book for the public “Reprenez le contrôle de vos gènes” Larousse (April 2019) and “Wir können unsere Gene steuern” Berlin Verlag (August 2020). She is member of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences, of the European Academy of Science and of the European Molecular Biology Organization. She is also Knight in the National Order of Merit and holds the Legion of Honour in France.
Kamila Markram is the co-founder and CEO of Frontiers, and a neuroscientist and autism researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) Lausanne. Frontiers is one of the largest and most impactful Open Science platforms in the world, on a mission to make science open for the benefit of humanity. Radically improving how science is reviewed, published, evaluated and disseminated to both researchers and the general public, Frontiers received the 2014 ALPSP Gold Award for Innovation in Publishing. In 2016 Kamila was named a L’HEBDO Forum 100 personality, a Stevie Gold Award Winner for Women in Business, and a finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. In 2017, Kamila was a finalist for the EU Prize for Women Innovators.
Alexander Mathis is an assistant professor of neuroscience at EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland. He studied pure mathematics with a minor in logic and theory of science at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich. For his PhD, also at LMU, he worked on optimal coding approaches to elucidate the properties of grid cells. As a postdoctoral fellow with Prof. Venkatesh N. Murthy at Harvard University and Prof. Matthias Bethge at Tuebingen AI, he decided to study olfactory behaviors such as odor-guided navigation, social behaviors and the cocktail party problem in mice. During this time, he increasingly got interested sensorimotor behaviors beyond olfaction and started working on proprioception, motor adaption, as well as computer vision tools for measuring animal behavior. In his group, he is interested in elucidating how the brain gives rise to adaptive behavior. One of the major goals is to synthesize large datasets into computationally useful information. For those purposes, he develops algorithms and systems to analyze animal behavior (e.g. DeepLabCut), neural data, as well as creates experimentally testable computational models.
Mackenzie Mathis is a neuroscientist at EPFL specializing in natural and artificial intelligence. Previously her laboratory was at Harvard University, where she held the prestigious Rowland Fellowship.
Alexander Mathys is a Professor of Sustainable Food Processing at the ETH Zurich since 2016, where he is focusing on more efficiency and sustainability of value chains in food and feed. Alexander studied food technology at the TU Berlin and did his Doctorate on emerging food preservation processes at TU Berlin and CSIRO Australia. Between 2009-2012 he worked at the Nestlé Research Center Lausanne and could implement his R&D project on an industrial factory scale in the US. Before working at ETH, he developed the new Bioeconomy department at the German Institute of Food Technologies DIL. Alexander is passionate about microalgae and insect processing to target food security. He received the ETH Zurich Dandelion Entrepreneurship Special Award 2022, IFT International Food Security Award and Lectureship 2020, was selected “Young Researcher” of the 60th Meeting of Nobel Laureates 2010, “Einstein Young Scholar 2010” and “A.T. Kearney Scholar” 2011 & 2012 at the Falling Walls conferences. Beside his research, Alexander loves to sail with his wife and two sons.
Monika Matti von Daeniken is the CEO of the Sandoz Family Office. She is also a member of the Foundation Board of the Sandoz Family Foundation and of various other boards in the context of the Foundation such as the Sandoz Foundation Hotels collection, which includes the Beau-Rivage Palace in Lausanne.
Ueli Maurer is a professor of computer science and head of the Information Security and Cryptography Research Group at ETH Zurich. Ueli studied electrical engineering at ETH, obtained his PhD in 1990, and then joined Princeton University as a postdoc. In 1992 he became part of the computer science faculty of ETH. His research interests include theory and applications of cryptography, information security, theoretical computer science, information theory, and discrete mathematics. One of his long-term research goals is to establish a constructive theory of cryptography and to apply it to the modular design of provably-secure cryptographic protocols. He has served many companies and start-ups as board member and consultant, including serving on the board of Tamedia AG from 2002 to 2008. Ueli also served as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Cryptology from 2002 to 2010 and in several other editorial positions. In 2015 he was named a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) “for contributions to cryptography and information security.” He is is also an IEEE Fellow, an IACR Fellow, and a member of the German Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina). He was the 2000 Rademacher Lecturer of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Pennsylvania, and received the 2013 Vodafone Innovation Award for Mobile Communications. Ueli received the 2016 RSA Award for Excellence in the Field of Mathematics and the 2016 Theory of Cryptography (TCC) test-of-time award. In 2018, Ueli co-founded the Concordium blockchain project.
Lucio Mayer (born in Italy) is a professor of theoretical and computational astrophysics, and is the current Director of the Institute of Computational Science at the University of Zurich. After obtaining his Ph.D. in astrophysics in 2001 at the University of Milan, he was research associate in the NASA Astrobiology Program at the University of Washington (U.S.A.) where he developed novel computer models of planet formation. He moved back to Europe as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Zurich in 2003, was awarded the Zwicky Prize Fellowship at ETH Zurich in 2005, and then appointed faculty at the University of Zurich in 2006. Since then he has been leading an ever growing team focusing on star and planet formation, galaxy formation and the formation and evolution of supermassive black holes living at the centers of galaxies. All these problems are tackled with supercomputer simulations. He has developed a novel model for the formation of supermassive black holes as a result of the collisions of galaxies in the primordial Universe, which, as others of his achievements, has been covered by major media and magazines worldwide, such as BBC, The Economist, the Discovery Channel and PhysicsWorld. He also works actively on the connection between supermassive black holes and gravitational waves and on how to exploit the power of what is possibly the most revolutionary instrument in physics and and astronomy of the next decade, namely the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) selected by the European Space Agency. He is one of the Chairs of the LISA Astrophysics Working Group, where he coordinates more than 500 scientists worldwide. In 2020 he was a Finalist of the Breakthrough of the Year Prize in the Physical Sciences (Falling Walls Foundation) for his innovative research on supermassive black hole binaries as sources of gravitational waves. He serves as a scientific advisor for NASA, for the European Research Council, for the Royal Astronomical Society as well as for the German and Swiss National Science Foundations. He is a recurrent visiting faculty at the prestigious Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Since 2019 he is Board Member and Scientific Counsellor for the MERAC Foundation, which, along with the European Astronomical Society, funds awards and stipends for the most brilliant junior scientists in Europe working in the area of astrophysics and cosmology. In 2021 he became part of the Swiss SKA Board, which will guide the scientific and technological activities of Switzerland as new full member of one of the largest and most ambitious scientific endeavors ever, namely the Square Kilometer Array Organization (SKAO). In his spare time, he likes listening to jazz music, diving and skiing, enjoying any form of art, and traveling to remote places, especially in Africa and in the Americas, with his wife and daughters.
Lorenz Meier is the creator of the most widely used open source autopilot for drones and flying cars. His passion is to lead a global community of engineers and companies working together to create the fully autonomous systems of the future. He received his PhD in 2017 from ETH Zurich. He is passionate about research on drones and open hardware. Lorenz has received several awards for his work, including being recognised by MIT Technology Review as one of the top 35 inventors under 35 in 2017, the ETH Pioneer Fellowship in 2016, Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship in 2012, ABB Industry Award in 2011, the 1st place in the EMAV 2009 indoor competition together with his team and an ETH Excellence and Opportunity Award in 2008. He was one of the speakers at the 2011 Annual Symposium as well as the 2012 Annual Symposium.
Andreas P. Meyer is an independant board member and investor. Before he led and developed SBB (Swiss Federal Railways) as CEO from 2007 to 2020 to a modern 10 bn. CHF group with the divisions passenger mobility, real estate, freight, railway infrastructure and a strong ICT departement. He transformed the railway company into globally connected mobility and logistics group, established the railway station/real estate and the new mobility services businesses. SBB is considered a pioneer in digitalization, innovation management and has established a best practice multi-stakeholdermanagement. He worked his first and decisive professional years with ABB in the global industry business. He worked for the German Babcock Group’s industry pipe business and later in various positions for the German Railway Group starting as managing director of the 5th biggest energy company in Germany and was in the end a member of the group executive board. Andreas Meyer started as an entrepreneurial lawyer and earned an MBA at INSEAD in Fontainebleau near Paris, France. He assumed the role of a leader of the advisory committee to the Swiss Government on digital transformation and was an active member in the Executive Committee of digitalswitzerland.
Axel Meyersiek worked in private equity for 20 years and was a Partner at BC Partners based in Hamburg and a Partner at TowerBrook Capital Partners based in London. Prior to working in private equity, Axel was a member of the Investment Banking Division of Goldman Sachs and also worked at Giving Capital in the US, a technology company providing products and services to the nonprofit sector. Axel holds a degree in Industrial Engineering from the Technische Universität Berlin and is a CFA Charterholder.
Freideriki (“Frida”) Michailidou (born in Ioannina, Greece) is a Collegium Research fellow (previously Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow) at ETH Zurich. She is passionate about protein engineering, biotechnology and fragrance creation. Her research is situated at the intersections of biotechnology, perfumery and consumer science, where she is developing novel processes for the sustainable creation of fragrant materials. She completed her undergraduate studies in chemistry at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece) and CPE Lyon (France). After a Master’s in chemistry (University of Lyon 1) and a research stay in Shanghai (China), Frida obtained her PhD in chemistry from the University of St Andrews in Scotland, in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline. There, she focused on structural and mechanistic studies of the biosynthesis of pacidamycin, a nucleoside-containing antibiotic with a clinically unexplored mode of action. Following a brief period working in the UK as an R&D scientist in the industry and as a postdoc fellow in Germany at WWU Münster, Frida is currently a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow at ETH Zurich, where she is leading an ambitious project at the intersections of protein engineering and synthetic biology. In her spare time, Frida participates in outreach events and entrepreneurship competitions, and she recently received the STARTUP CAMPUS award for her innovative entrepreneurial idea in the field of fragrance development.
Ammar Mirjan is an architect and automation expert engaging in digital fabrication and robotic construction systems. He co-founded the robotic construction start-up MESH AG, a spin-off company of ETH Zurich, to foster greater efficiency, sustainability and design freedom for the construction industry.
Stephan Mohr is the chief audit executive at la Mobilière insurance company. He holds a PhD in psychology.
Ben Moore (born in Northumberland, England) is professor of astrophysics at the University of Zurich, and has authored over 200 scientific papers ranging from the origins of planets and galaxies to the nature of dark matter and the future of the universe. He heads the Center for Theoretical Astrophysics & Cosmology, carrying out the world’s largest supercomputer calculations of the formation of cosmic structures using custom designed supercomputers. He gained his Ph.D. from the University of Durham and spent several years as a research fellow in the United States of America. Ben has been living in Switzerland for the past 20 years, where he enjoys mountaineering, snowboarding, writing and making electronic music. He has written several best-selling popular science books for adults and children and is a regular columnist for ‘Das Magazin’. Ben was a speaker at the 2008, 2014 and 2019 Annual Symposia.
Beatrix Morath is Managing Director and the Local Market Leader of AlixPartners Switzerland. Furthermore, she is a member of the Global Board of Directors of AlixPartners and leads its EMEA Travel Hospitality and Leisure practice. AlixPartners is a leading global business advisory firm of results-oriented professionals who specialize in creating value and restoring performance at every stage of the business life cycle. After her studies of business administration, she started her career as a corporate banker focusing on corporate turnarounds. Between 1997 and 2014 she worked with Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, where she successfully managed the Switzerland office for several years before moving to AlixPartners in 2014. She mainly works for clients in B2C industries supporting them in transformations, profit improvement programs, post merger integrations, carve-outs, reorganizations and restructurings. Besides, Beatrix is on the advisory board of the Economics Department of the University of Zurich and on the board of Global Dignity. Beatrix is married and has two children.
Alessandro Morra is the co-founder and a robotics engineer at Ascento Robotics, which he started with fellow students during his Robotics Master at ETH Zurich. The goal of Ascento is to bring cutting-edge and affordable mobile robots to the market that can go wherever humans can go.
Lukas Morscher is partner and head of the Technology practice and Co-head Fintech practice at the law firm Lenz & Staehelin in Zurich. Practice areas include technology, digitization, data privacy, fintech, blockchain, sourcing (ITO, BPO), telecoms and media, corporate governance, M&A, capital markets and stock exchange law. Lukas holds a master in economics, a doctorate in law (thesis on financial markets’ regulation), and an AMP from Harvard Business School. He is a frequent lecturer at seminars and conferences with multiple publications, and is a board member and early stage investor in companies in the technology, software, fintech and fashion industries. Married and father of three girls, Lukas loves global family travels.
Stavroula Mougiakakou is an Associate Professor affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine, University of Bern and holds a Ph.D. degree in electrical and computer engineering from the National Technical University of Athens. She is currently leading the AI in Health and Nutrition laboratory at the ARTORG Center for Biomedical Engineering Research Bern, Switzerland. Her research interests include artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer vision and their application in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment optimization of acute and chronic diseases. Over the last years she successfully involved herself and her research group in many competitive national, European, and internationally funded R&D projects, resulting in numerous publications, a number of patents and several technology transfer activities.
Michael Mueller is the CEO of Valora Holding. He joined Valora Group in 2012, initially as the CFO of Valora Holding and since 2014 he has been the CEO. Michael has a master’s degree in Law (lic. iur. HSG) from the University of St. Gallen. In his previous roles, he was the Owner & Managing Director of Rubus Capital Management Ltd. between 2010 and 2012, CEO/Delegate and Member of the Board of Directors of Jelmoli Holding AG between 2007 and 2010 as well as CEO of GVO Asset Management Ltd. between 2007 and 2009. Before this, he was a merger & acquisitions advisor in investment banking at Goldman Sachs and he worked for Bain & Company as a strategy consultant in strategic transformation and restructuring programs between 2001 and 2005. In addition to his role at Valora, Michael has been a member of the Board of Directors of Merbag Holding AG since 2021.
Nina Müller is CEO of Jelmoli AG. She was born in Austria and obtained an MA in International Business Administration from the Vienna University of Economics and Business before beginning her career in the Marketing and Sales Department at Wolford, first in Bregenz and then in Milan. She then worked in other international positions, as Sales Manager at French Connection and Managing Director at Mandarina Duck in London. Nina returned to the country of her birth in 2002 to work as a Managing Director for the Austrian company Palmers in Vienna, where she was responsible for overseeing the transformation and closure of luxury department store Braun & Co. In 2005, she moved to Swarovski, where her roles included Global Head of Retail Concepts and Retail Marketing Director. Beginning in 2011, she was responsible for establishing the new lolaandgrace brand in her capacity as General Manager. Nina was CEO of CHRIST Uhren und Schmuck from 2016 to 2020, where she oversaw the repositioning of its watch and jewellery brands. In April 2020, she also became a member of the group executive board of the listed company Swiss Prime Site.
Florian Nehm is the Head of European Public Affairs at Axel Springer. His field of managerial work covers Sustainability as well as European Media Policy. Florian studied Agriculture at the Universidad Católica in Santiago de Chile and the University of Applied Sciences in Soest, Germany, as well as Economics (Master of Science) at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, USA. This was followed by a journalistic traineeship at the daily newspaper DIE WELT as well as a traineeship in editorial management.
Claude Nicollier (born in Vevey, Switzerland) is an Astronaut with 4 Space Shuttle missions and a Professor emeritus at EPFL in Lausanne. He became an astrophysicist after studies in physics in Lausanne and astrophysics in Geneva. He also trained as a Swiss Air Force pilot and as an airline pilot. He is a graduate of the Empire Test Pilot’s School, Boscombe Down, United Kingdom, class of 1988. He was selected in 1978 in the first group of astronauts of the European Space Agency (ESA), then was detached to the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas, for full training as Mission Specialist on the US Space Shuttle, following an agreement between ESA and NASA. He served as a crewmember on four Shuttle missions between 1992 and 1999, including two on-orbit interventions on the Hubble Space Telescope. He spent a total of more than 1000 hours in space during these four missions. He is currently (2020) a member of Space Innovation in Lausanne, Switzerland, and honorary Professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology EPFL.
Peter Niederhauser is the founding partner at Redalpine, a venture capital firm. Already during his studies, he founded a software company for enterprise software, which quickly became a market leader and grew to several hundred employees. In 1999, just prior to the dot-com crash, the company was listed on the stock exchange. Peter then put his experience to work as a business angel. He supported startups, some of which later became world-famous. When he saw how difficult it is for founders to acquire venture capital, he sought suitable partners and co-founded Redalpine in 2006. He is inspired by working with brilliant people who are willing to give everything to achieve their lofty visions. Highlights for Peter include the moments when it becomes definite that an idea is working. In his rare moments of spare time, Peter enjoys being out on the water – sailing, diving or kitesurfing.
Ashkan Nikeghbali has a chair in mathematics at the University of Zurich in the Faculty of Sciences and is also a full professor of financial mathematics in the Faculty of Economics. His research interests in pure maths lie at the intersection of probability theory, number theory and random matrix theory. He is particularly interested in the distribution of the values of the Riemann zeta function. His applied research focuses on approximations of probability distributions, using both classical techniques and machine/deep learning. He is also an advisor for Roche and a member of the scientific board of Swissquant. Ashkan was one of the speakers at the 2012 Annual Symposium.
Joanna Nowotny is a researcher in literary and cultural studies who works at the Swiss Literary Archives in Bern. When she isn’t drowning in archive boxes, she works as a freelance cultural journalist. She just published a book about memes and edited a book about Jewish legends. She completed her Ph.D. in literary and cultural studies in 2017 and studied German language and literature, art history and philosophy. Her academic fields of interest include digital culture(s), German-Jewish literature and culture, contemporary German literature, digital humanities, game and comics studies as well as popular culture studies. She spent a semester studying in Vienna, another doing research at University of Chicago, and lived in Stockholm after her master’s, working for contemporary art institutions. In her free time, she is invovled in several musical projects as a composer and instrumentalist.
Nubya is a singer born in Basel. Her voice is often compared with Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, her style varies somewhere between Pop, R&B, Soul, and Jazz. Her father is Nigerian and her mother Swiss. At the age of seven, she learned how to play the piano, and, after graduating high school, she studied at the New School Jazz Academy in New York. Back in Switzerland, she studied economics. Besides her studies, music remained her passion. As a background singer she accompanied Céline Dion, Ace of Base, and the Lighthouse Family on tour. She achieved her breakthrough whilst performing as a supporting act for Whitney Houston’s concert at the Hallenstadion Zurich. Her debut album was released in 1999. In 2005, she supported the Band Night of the Proms on their tour, and, 2012, she was invited to appear as a guest star for the Blue Man Group at the “Bülent Ceylan Show” on TV. She starred in the 3sat series “Tonspur—Soundtrack deines Lebens”, and is currently working on her next album.
Matthias Oberholzer is the CEO of Asia, West Coast and Central Europe for Russell Reynolds Associates. Prior to joining Russell Reynolds Associates, Matthias was with McKinsey & Company for eight years, as an Associate Principal serving insurance, banking and sports clients in Germany and Switzerland, as well as throughout Africa, Europe and North America. During his tenure, Matthias held leadership roles in the European and Swiss insurance practices and led knowledge development in the areas of claims management, underwriting, bancassurance, innovation and the Swiss insurance market. Earlier, Matthias founded and sold several companies as an independent entrepreneur. He has published a book on product innovation in the P&C insurance industry and has authored a number of articles for industry publications. Matthias received his BA in business administration and his MBA in insurance economics from the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland. He also holds an MS in e-commerce from Carnegie Mellon University and a PhD in insurance economics from the University of Basel. Matthias is also a member of YPO.
Oliver Pabst has been managing Mammut Sports Group AG since September 2016 as the Group CEO. He was a member of the Conzzeta Executive Committee, the former parent company of Mammut. Oliver also sits on various boards of directors with a focus on tech startups. After his PhD (St.Gall) he started his career in 1993 at McKinsey & Company in Zurich. From 2002 to 2005 he was Managing Partner at Boards & More Holding SA in Montreux. From 2006 he was Member of the Board of Willy Bogner KGaA in Munich, and Managing Director of various units with strategic and operational responsibilities for international business, retail and e-commerce business, among others. Oliver grew up in a textile entrepreneurial family and has since childhood developed a keen instinct for textiles, sports and entrepreneurship. With his talents, his education and the affinity for sport of every kind, he is able to unites both work and hobby in his role at Mammut.
Greta Patzke is Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Zurich, where she develops a comprehensive strategy towards functional materials for environmental and renewable energy technologies. Her research team places special emphasis on catalyst development for artificial photosynthesis. Current activities are part of the UZH special research program “Light to Chemical Energy Conversion.” Greta follows an interdisciplinary approach in materials science, always implementing new trends from neighboring disciplines to move closer to her vision: targeted materials production for tomorrow’s worldwide challenges. Greta was the recipient of the 2017 Credit Suisse Award for Best Teaching at the University of Zurich. Greta was one of the speakers at the 2009 Annual Symposium as well as at the 2016 Annual Symposium.
Mark Pauly (born in Germany) is a professor at the School of Computer & Communication Sciences at EPFL. He previously held academic positions at ETH Zurich and at Stanford University. His research interests include geometric optimization, computational and architectural design, and digital fabrication. He received the ETH dissertation award in 2003, the Eurographics Young Researcher Award in 2006, an ERC grant in 2010, and the Eurographics Outstanding Technical Achievement Award in 2016. Mark has co-founded two EPFL spin-off companies, Faceshift AG in 2012 and Rayform AG in 2016. Mark was one of the speakers at the 2008 Annual Symposium.
Markus Pertl founded the Stern Stewart Institute in 1998 and currently heads the organization as chairman. The Stern Stewart Institute is a leading think tank and promotes entrepreneurship and empowerment through its projects in Africa. Markus is managing partner of the consulting firm Stern Stewart & Co and of Stern Stewart Capital.
Frederike Petzschner is a Professor for Human Behavior and Psychiatry at Brown University. She is also the director of the Carney Fellow’s Program at the Carney Institute for Brain Science at Brown. Prior to this, she worked at the Translational Neuromodeling Unit at the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich. Frederike’s focus is perception and mental health: She uses mathematical models in combination with brain imaging and physiological data to understand brain-body and brain-world interactions in the healthy population and in patients with Disordered Gambling, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or Psychosomatic Symptoms. Before coming to Zurich, Frederike received a Master of Honors degree in physics, followed by a Ph.D. in neuroscience at the age of 26, where she studied human perception of space and time. She graduated both programs of the Bavarian Elite Network with the highest possible distinction. Besides her academic interests, Frederike is a member of the national council for digital ecology (Rat für Digitale Ökologie) in Germany, a WEF Global Shaper and enjoys to climb, ski and be outdoors.
Ulrike Pfreundt is a German entrepreneur, ocean scientist, geneticist, and curious thinker, whose award-winning work transcends the boundaries of her field. She is alumna of ETH Zürich and Silicon Valley’s Singularity University. In 2020, Ulrike co-founded rrreefs, a not-for-profit startup that rebuilds dead coral reefs at scale. Driven by their passion for the ocean and the urgency of dying coral reefs, Ulrike and her co-founders – the Swiss artist Marie Griesmar and the German biologist Hanna Kuhfuss – create eco-engineered modular reef systems that enhance biodiversity and halt coastal erosion.
Bertrand Piccard is a psychologist and visionary explorer, combining innovation and exploration to tackle the great challenges of our time. It is in his DNA to go beyond the obvious and achieve the impossible. From a legendary lineage of explorers who conquered the stratosphere and the abysses, he made history by accomplishing two aeronautical firsts, around the world non-stop in a balloon, and more recently in a solar plane without fuel. Pioneer in his way to consider ecology through the lens of profitability, he began working in the early 2000s to promote renewable energies and clean technologies. His dual identity as a psychiatrist and explorer makes him an influential voice heard by the largest institutions which today consider him as a forward-thinking leader on the themes of innovation and sustainability. Founder and Chairman of the Solar Impulse Foundation, he has succeeded in his mission to select 1000 efficient solutions to protect the environment in a profitable way. In a third round the world tour, he will bring them to decision-makers in order to help them meet their environmental targets while ensuring clean economic growth. Bertrand is now United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for the Environment and Special Advisor to the European Commission.
Luc Piguet is the CEO and co-Founder of ClearSpace, a ground-breaking initiative based at EPFL in Lausanne to clear up Space debris. In 2019, the European Space Agency (ESA) selected Luc and his team at ClearSpace to lead a European consortium that will develop technologies to capture and deorbit space debris. ClearSpace is the result of a long-term project that began in 2012 at the EPFL Space Center (eSpace). Already, the aim of the initial CleanSpace-1 initiative was to develop technologies to capture and deorbit obsolete space objects – such as out-of-use satellites, rocket stages, parts of solar panels, and loose nuts and bolts – that had been put into orbit over the past 60 years and that are now filling up the space immediately above the Earth. These objects orbit our planet at a speed of 28,000 kmph, making them dangerous projectiles for working satellites and astronauts at the international space station. That’s why, in addition to deorbiting future satellites at the end of their useful life, space agencies need to find ways to get rid of the space satellites and debris already up there. Eight countries are involved in the ClearSpace project: Switzerland, the UK, the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Sweden. Luc studied at EPFL, with a degree in Electrical Engineering and an Executive Program at Stanford GSB.
Padmini Pillai is an immunoengineer who is bridging the gap between advances in immunology and the development of new biomaterials to treat human disease. As a Postdoctoral Fellow with Prof. Robert Langer at MIT, her research focuses on the design of nucleic acid nanotherapies and drug delivery strategies to boost antitumor immunity, resolve chronic inflammatory disease, and improve vaccination efficacy in the developing world. She completed her Ph.D. in Immunobiology at Yale Univ. where her research on antiviral immunity and inflammation was published in high-profile journals including Science. During the COVID pandemic, she has been featured in multiple media outlets including CNBC, the Atlantic, and the New York Times. Padmini was selected as a delegate to the American Academy of Achievement and was named a Young Pioneer at the World Frontiers Forum in 2019. Padmini is also a singer and multi-instrumentalist who has performed music internationally ranging from Gospel to South Indian Classical. She has provided backup vocals for Grammy award-winning artist Angélique Kidjo since 2011 at venues including the Kennedy Center, the Lincoln Center, Bonnaroo, and Carnegie Hall.
Rafael Polania is Colombia born. He earned a Bachelor degree in Electrical Engineering. In 2006, he moved to Germany to pursue his Master degree in Computer Science, and shortly after he received his PhD degree in Neuroscience with honours. Afterwards, Rafa was a senior researcher at the Department of Economics at University of Zürich and spent some time at Columbia University (New York, USA) where he investigated the neuro-computational mechanisms underlying human decision making. Shortly after, Rafa was awarded the prestigious ERC Grant and became Professor of Decision Neuroscience at the Department of Health Sciences and Technologies at ETH Zurich, and additionally mentioned Honorary Fellow at the Department of Economics at the University of Zürich. In his Lab, Rafael works to develop theories and concepts of neuroeconomic behaviour based on neuroimaging data, causal interventions, and formal mathematical models to reveal the nature of human (i)rationality, with the goal of applying these concepts to understand economic behaviour, improve clinical diagnostics and treatments, and guide policy making. In his spare time, Rafa loves playing sports, biking and hiking with his two little kids!
Marc Pollefeys (born in Belgium) is Director of Science leading a team of scientist and engineers to develop advanced perception capabilities for HoloLens. He is also a Professor of Computer Science at ETH Zurich and was elected Fellow of the IEEE in 2012. He is best known for his work in 3D computer vision, having been the first to develop a software pipeline to automatically turn photographs into 3D models, but also works on robotics, graphics and machine learning problems. Other noteworthy projects he worked on with collaborators at UNC Chapel Hill and ETH Zurich are real-time 3D scanning with mobile devices, a real-time pipeline for 3D reconstruction of cities from vehicle mounted-cameras, camera-based self-driving cars and the first fully autonomous vision-based drone. Most recently his academic research has focused on combining 3D reconstruction with semantic scene understanding. He has published over 300 peer-reviewed publications and holds several patents. His lab at ETH Zurich also developed the PixHawk auto-pilot which can be found in over half a million drones and he has co-founded several computer vision start-ups. Personal note: Marc loves reading graphic novels, exploring foreign cuisine while traveling, playing volleyball, having a good discussion, and playing with his kids.
Mariana Popescu is an Assistant Professor of Parametric structural design and Digital Fabrication at Delft University of Technology. She is a computational architect and structural designer with a strong interest in innovative ways of approaching the fabrication process and use of materials in construction. Her area of expertise is computational and parametric design with a focus on digital fabrication and sustainable design. Her extensive involvement in projects related to promoting sustainability has led to a multilateral development of skills, which combine the fields of architecture, engineering, computational design and digital fabrication. In 2019, she successfully defended her Ph.D., which was nominated for the ETH Medal for outstanding dissertation, and was named a “Pioneer” on the MIT Technology review global list of “35 innovators under 35”.
Saša Popović completed his academic education at the Faculty of Technical Sciences in Novi Sad, where he got his master’s degree in electrotechnical engineering and computer science. During his studies, he began working as a programmer. Together with his university colleague Vladan Ostojic, he founded Vega IT in 2008. It was their first company. They still own and manage Vega IT together and have co-founded or joined more than 20 other businesses so far. Saša’s caring for his colleagues and the company’s emphasis on customer satisfaction have resulted in Vega IT’s annual growth of over 30% since its inception – in terms of income, profit and number of employees. The company is around 800 people strong at the moment. Ever since becoming an entrepreneur, Saša has been encouraging leadership, intrapreneurship and entrepreneurship within the company and within the local community.
Stefan Portmann is an investor and the former chairman of the board of Retail Fashion Partners. He started his career in the fashion retail business back in 1989 in the U.S. After holding several senior management positions in retail, he joined SCHILD as a shareholder and member of the management team in 2004. After the integration of former competitor Spengler, they successfully accomplished the turnaround of the “new SCHILD,” making it one of the country’s leading fashion retailers in the upper medium market. Since the sale of SCHILD to the Globus Group/Migros in 2014, he has been a board member of several companies as well as being more actively involved as a business angel and investor. Stefan holds a Master of Science degree in marketing from the University of Wales and completed his studies in Asia and the U.S. with an M.B.A. He enjoys spending his leisure time with his wife and their two children.
Philipp Raidt is a Partner on FGS Global’s Government Relations, Policy and Advocacy team. Philipp brings more than a decade of experience in the tech, media and mobility sector to his clients. He helps companies and investors unlock value, manage risk and navigate regulation when they venture beyond established markets and industries. Prior to joining FGS Global, Philipp was COO at Axel Springer Digital Ventures. Previously, he was Managing Director at Axel Springer International and Head of Portfolio at Axel Springer Digital Classifieds. Earlier in his career, he was a lawyer at Hogan Lovells International LLP.
Sophie Rain is a computer science PhD student at the TU Vienna. She works in the Automated Program Reasoning (APRe) group of Laura Kovacs. With her research, Sophie wants to help provide secure Decentralized Finance (DeFi) applications. In more detail, Sophie establishes a framework to mathematically (dis-)prove that a DeFi application is not vulnerable to any form of attack. Further, together with her supervisor, Sophie initiated the workshop concept “Adventure Informatics for primary schools” (Abenteuer Informatik für Volksschule). This initiative aims to encourage children to engage with STEM topics early on.
Michael Raissig (born 1982 in Zurich) earned his PhD in plant genetics in the lab of Ueli Grossniklaus at the University of Zurich. He studied epigenetic processes during embryo development in the model plant Arabidopsis. From 2014 to 2018, he was an independently funded postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Dominique Bergmann at Stanford University. There, he studies how the grasses, which include cereals like corn, rice and wheat, learned to “breathe” more efficiently. Owing to a developmental innovation, grasses form superior leaf valves (stomata) that allow more efficient gas exchange between plant and atmosphere. By connecting fundamental developmental mechanisms to plant physiology and performance, Michael hopes to uncover ways to sustain food, fuel and fiber for future generations. Starting from May 2018, Michael has been an independent group leader at the Centre for Organismal Studies at the University of Heidelberg.
Ritu Raman is the d’Arbeloff assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT. The Raman Lab is centered on engineering adaptive living materials for applications in medicine and machines. The lab’s current focus is building neuromuscular actuators to restore mobility and power robots. Ritu has received several recognitions for scientific innovation, including being named a Kavli Fellow by the National Academy of Sciences and being named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 and MIT Technology Review 35 Innovators Under 35 lists. She is the author of the MIT Press book Biofabrication. Ritu is passionate about increasing diversity in STEM and has championed many initiatives to empower women in science, including being named a AAAS IF/THEN ambassador and founding the Women in Innovation and STEM Database at MIT (WISDM). Ritu received her BS from Cornell University and her PhD as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She completed her postdoctoral research with Prof. Robert Langer at MIT, funded by a L’Oréal USA For Women in Science Fellowship and a Ford Foundation Fellowship from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
Meike Ramon is an Assistant Professor and Swiss National Science Foundation PRIMA (Promoting Women in Academia) Fellow. She founded and leads the Applied Face Cognition Lab at the University of Lausanne. Her research focus is in Cognitive Neuroscience and and its translation into application and policy. Meike is a Scientific Advisor for the Berlin State Office of Criminal Investigation, member of the European Association for Biometrics and Europol Platform for Experts, and will join the Innosuisse Expert Panel from 2023.
Alexandre Refregier is a professor at the Institute for Particle Physics and Astrophysics of ETH Zurich, where he focuses on dark energy of the universe. Together, dark energy and dark matter pose some of the most important questions in fundamental physics today. Alexandre’s research interests focus on the understanding of these fundamental questions in Cosmology from measurements of the large-scale structure of the universe. For this purpose, he uses astrophysical observations in different wavelengths ranging from X-rays to the radio band and combine the observational, theoretical, and instrumental approaches. Alexandre received his Ph.D. in physics from Columbia University in New York, and has been a professor at ETH since 2011.
Frank Rehfeld is CEO at LEM Holding SA. Prior to this, he held various management positions at Automotive Suppliers in China and Germany. Frank has a track record of more than two decades in the Automotive electronics industry, with a focus to Strategy, R&D and Operations. Having lived 12 years in China, he has significant experience and a deep cultural understanding of doing business in mainland China.
Max Rheiner is a senior lecturer at Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK). He has been teaching in both the bachelor’s and master’s programs for the Department of Interaction Design, since 2006. The main areas of discipline that he specializes in are Embodied Interaction and Physical Computing. Of these topics, he conceived and developed the Physical Computing Laboratory for the Department of Interaction Design that has been running since 2006. His research and artistic interest center on interactive experiences that utilize methods from Virtual/Augmented Reality and Immersive Telepresence. Moreover, his artistic work has been recognized and exhibited in a number of international and well-renowned venues such as Biennale Venice, Italy; Ars Electronic Linz, Austria; and Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media. Max was one of the speakers at the inaugural WORLD.MINDS Belgrade in 2019.
Philipp Rickenbacher is the CEO of Swiss private bank Julius Bär, a group that he joined in 2004 from McKinsey & Company. Julius Bär is a leading Swiss wealth management group with presence in over 60 locations worldwide. Before his appointment as CEO, Philipp was Head of Intermediaries & Global Custody of Bank Julius Baer & Co. Ltd, and prior to that, Head Advisory Solutions for two years, responsible for the development of the Bank’s innovative advisory approach and of holistic wealth management solutions. He holds a Master of Science in biotechnology from ETH Zurich. The long-term trends in technology and society – such as digital disruption, artificial intelligence, humanity’s need for healthcare, the rise of emerging markets and the quest for a more sustainable economy, remain his greatest interests.
Frank Rieger is a German hacker, nonfiction author, art publicist, Internet activist and a spokesman for the Chaos Computer Club (CCC). Frank has been active in the German start-up scene since the 1990s, where he launched several companies in the area of data security, navigation services and e-reading. He is currently working as a company director for communications security and acts as a volunteer spokesman for the CCC. He is regularly interviewed by journalists on the subject of data security and abuse, and he himself publishes often in the features section of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), for example on the computer worm Stuxnet. Together with Felix von Leitner, he operates the podcast “No Alternative”, which received the Political Podcast of the Year from German radio in 2011. In 2012, the Werner Holt Fort Prize went to the CCC and its two speakers, Frank and Constanze Kurz, for its engagement on citizen- and human rights.
Lorenz Risch is the Chairman of the Dr. Risch Group. Lorenz’s path led him to Harvard University in Boston after his state examination and doctorate. He gained experience as resident and senior physician at the University Hospital Zurich and other renowned clinics and hospitals in Switzerland and Austria. After board certification in laboratory medicine and internal medicine, Lorenz has been active in the family group of companies since 2004, which he has jointly managed with his brother since 2011. Today, the laboratories of the Dr. Risch group have developed into a leading national provider of laboratory medical services in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. With around 650 employees, they perform over 2000 different types of tests and thus several million examinations annually. Together with his brother Martin, he was awarded the entrepreneur of the year (EOY) award 2017 in Liechtenstein. Regarding governance of non-profit or public institutions, he acts as the president of the board of trustees of the Private University in the Principality of Liechtenstein after having led a transformation of the Liechtenstein National Hospital as a Vice President of its board of trustees. Lorenz studied medicine at the University of Bern and Public Health at the Harvard School of Public Health. Among other mandates, he serves as a Privatdozent at the Medical University of Innsbruck since 2007. In 2015, he was appointed as a Professor of Clinical Biochemistry at the University of Bern. Within a research network of national and international cooperations, Lorenz and his team run 4 large cohort studies investigating the development of cardiovascular risk factors, the interaction of weather and climate on physiology and health, as well as specific issues in geriatric and pediatric laboratory medicine.
Dragana Rogulja is an Associate Professor of Neurobiology at Harvard. Her Ph.D. training was in developmental biology with Ken Irvine (Rutgers University), and her postdoctoral training was in behavioral neuroscience at Rockefeller University. She joined the faculty of the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School in 2013, where her lab studies sleep, circadian rhythms, and motivation using fruit flies and mice. The questions they want to answer include: Why is sleep essential for survival? How do animals disconnect from their sensory environment during sleep? How do you decide to take an action?
Marcel Rohner is the founder and chairman of Loewenfeld Beteiligungen AG, a private investment company. He is a member Vice Chairman of the board of UBP (Union Bancaire Privée) in Geneva, member of the board of Warteck Invest in Basel, and of a number of further private financial services and industrial companies. Until March 2009, he was CEO of UBS AG and vice chairman of the Swiss Bankers Association. He received both his master’s and Ph.D. degree from the University of Zurich, specializing in empirical research in economics and econometrics.
Isabelle Romy (born in Lausanne and based in Zurich) is a partner at the law firm Kellerhals Carrard. Her practice focuses on international litigation and arbitration in commercial matters. She is also a leading expert in environmental and construction law in Switzerland. Isabelle is a professor of law and has been teaching at the University of Fribourg and at the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) since 1996. She is the vice chairman of the Sanction Commission of the SIX Swiss Exchange and served as a deputy judge at the Swiss Federal Supreme Court (2003-2008). She served on the board of directors of UBS Group as well as UBS (2012-2020), and is currently a member of the board of SoftwareOne and the chair of the board of Central Real Estate Holding and of Rhystadt.
Claudia Röösli is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Zurich and manager of the GlobDiversity project. The European Space Agency (ESA) is funding this project in order to develop techniques to use satellite images to monitor biodiversity on a global scale. Claudia is convinced of the high potential to use satellites to efficiently observe the Earth’s natural processes and she likes the challenges connected to space based techniques. Her fields of interest and education includes next to the domain of Geomatics also glaciers and seismology. During the weekend, she can be found in the Swiss alps doing many different outdoor sports.
Ute Marianne Rost founded KKManagement (Austria) for the international representation of outstanding classical musicians, composers and ensembles in the fields of opera, symphonic and chamber music. A music graduate and marketing manager, she also runs a boutique film and music production company in Austria specializing in classical music. Besides, she is committed to the pioneering development of the organ as a universal interface of the classical repertoire and a meta-instrument of modern computer music.
Laura Rudas is the Executive Vice President at Palantir Technologies, a US software company. She also serves as a member of the Board of Directors (Verwaltungsrat) at Ringier AG, the leading Swiss media company. Palantir Technologies supports large international companies and institutions in their digital transformation, analysis and use of big data. Laura has been playing a key role in building Palantir’s now highly successful European business over the past 8 years. In her role, she works directly with Palantir founder and CEO Alex Karp and also advises him on higher-level strategic corporate issues. Prior to her time in the private sector, Laura was, at the age of 28, Secretary-General of the Austrian governing political party, the Social Democrats, for more than 5 years whilst also being an elected member of the Austrian National Council. Laura graduated at Stanford University in California, she completed the Sloan Fellowship. She also holds a master’s degree in political science from the University of Vienna.
Schoscho Rufener studied economics at St. Gallen University and scenography at the Zurich University of the Arts. Being the born entrepreneur and a devoted observer of trends in society and economics, he soon started building various ventures mainly in entertainment, events, and lifestyle. A dominant role in his work became Rufener Events, the event agency he founded in 1999 and sold to MCH group in 2009. Rufener Events is a leading agency organizing events throughout the world with offices in several countries. His portfolio of equity holdings includes top bars and restaurants in the Zurich area, successful entertainment formats and high profile communication agencies. He is a board member of WORLD.MINDS.
Hadi Saleh is CEO of CeramTec. Driven by his deep interest in science, Hadi wants to understand how things work. Starting out as a Medical Doctor in Trauma Surgery and Orthopedics, his primary interest was understanding the human body. Through a series of frustrations and disappointments, he left practicing medicine and made a pivotal shift in becoming a strategic consultant focusing on healthcare, pharma and medical devices. Hadi later joined Merck and through the joint venture with Biomet ended up many years and career steps later in Warsaw, in the USA at Biomet’s headquarter as SVP and President International. Since 2015, he is with CeramTec, a company specialized in high-performance ceramics especially for Medtech applications. CeramTec is a true hidden champion, German Mittelstand, based in Plochingen, close to Stuttgart. Hadi continues to be interested in technology, deep tech and everything related to longevity. He is a firm believer that technology will be able to save humanity from destroying itself.
Manuel Salvisberg is the chairman of hedge fund group Ayaltis and software group TrekkSoft, he sits on numerous other Boards of technology companies, collects and creates art. He studied in Switzerland and China and started his career in management consulting and private equity/venture capital. Since 2007 he oversees a diversified portfolio of investments in growth companies in Europe and Asia for his uncle Dr. Uli Sigg (world’s largest collector of contemporary Chinese arts and former Swiss ambassador to China).
Reto Savoia is the CEO of Deloitte Switzerland and a member of the Executive of Deloitte North and South Europe. Prior to his current role, he held various leadership positions within Deloitte: from transforming, as Managing Partner Tax & Legal, the tax business from 2011 to 2016, to driving the strong expansion of Deloitte’s market footprint in Switzerland as Clients & Industries leader from 2016 to 2019. Furthermore, he served from 2013 to 2019 as a board member of Deloitte UK, respectively Deloitte North West Europe. Having spent 15 years with Deloitte, with more than 22 years of industry experience, providing solutions to clients’ complex challenges still excites him. Leading by example and building competent teams who work with clients to make an impact that matters motivates him. Reto is a Swiss international and corporate tax professional in cross-border structuring, M&A and business reorganisations. He has a master’s degrees in business administration and law from the University of St. Gallen, and is a member of the Board of economiesuisse. Reto serves on the Executive Advisory Board of WORLD.MINDS.
Davide Scaramuzza is a Professor of Robotics and Perception at the University of Zurich, where he does research at the intersection of robotics, computer vision, and machine learning, aiming to enable autonomous, agile navigation of micro drones using both standard and neuromorphic event-based cameras. He pioneered autonomous, vision-based navigation of drones, which inspired the NASA Mars helicopter and has served as a consultant for the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency’s Fukushima Action Plan on Nuclear Safety. For his research contributions, he won prestigious awards, such as a European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant, the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Early Career Award, the SNF Starting Grant, and a Google Research Award. In 2015, he co-founded Zurich-Eye, today Facebook Zurich, which developed the world leading virtual-reality headset, Oculus Quest. Many aspects of his research have been prominently featured in wider media, such as The New York Times, BBC News, Forbes, Discovery Channel.
Gabriela Schaepman-Strub is a research scientist in ecology and earth system science at the University of Zurich. She combines satellite remote sensing, radiative transfer modelling, and spatial ecology to study the interaction of permafrost, vegetation, biodiversity, and climate at her research station in the Siberian Arctic and at pan-arctic scale. She is specifically interested in the energy fluxes between the atmosphere, biosphere, and cryosphere. Gabriela acts as vice-chair of the Swiss Committee on Polar and High Altitude research, and is a member of the advisory board of the Swiss Polar Institute. She is further involved in polar science and policy at international level through her participation in the terrestrial working group of the International Arctic Science Committee and is representing Switzerland in the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna group of the Arctic Council.
Kevin Schawinski is the co-founder and CEO of Modulos AG, an artificial intelligence startup based in Zurich. He studied physics and mathematics at Cornell University and received his Ph.D in three years at Oxford University, for which he won the Royal Astronomical Society’s thesis prize. Afterwards, he moved to Yale University with a NASA Einstein Fellowship and returned to Switzerland as an assistant professor at ETH Zurich. His research focused on the formation of galaxies and black holes and how we can use citizen science and machine learning to better understand the physics involved. In 2018, he founded the ETH Spinoff Modulos to take his academic research out of the lab. In his spare time, he runs, skis and fails badly at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Roger Schawinski graduated from Central Michigan University with an M.B.A. and got a Ph.D. at HSG. He was founder and presenter of “Kassensturz” on Swiss Television, the first consumer-oriented TV show in Switzerland, which is still on air. He founded the first private radio station in Switzerland, Radio 24, in 1979, after having been editor-in-chief of the daily newspaper “TAT,” published by Migros. He then started the first private TV station in Switzerland, TeleZüri, followed by Tele 24, which serviced the whole country. He sold his company in 2001 and published several books. In 2003, he became CEO of Sat.1 in Berlin, one of Europe’s foremost private TV channels. He left the company three years later, after having increased profitability from four million to 204 million Euros. In 2008, he started Radio 1 in Zurich. In 2011, he started his own TV talk show on Swiss television, “Schawinski.” As of spring 2022 “Schawinski” can be watched on the Channel Blue Zoom. Since the beginning of the Corona pandemic in spring 2020, Roger installed a program on Radio 1 called «Talkradio», where he speaks to experts and listeners about current difficult situations as, for example, Corona, The War in Ukraine and others.
Wolf-Henning Scheider (born in Saarbrücken, Germany) is the CEO of automotive supplier ZF Group, where he has been Chairman of the Board since February 2018. Wolf studied business administration at Saarbrücken University and RWTH Aachen University, graduating in 1987. He then joined Robert Bosch GmbH with a trainee program. From 1989 to 2010, he held various positions there and was at times business manager for power tools (“Power Tools”) in France, chairman of the board of directors for sales and marketing in the “Car Multimedia” division, Hildesheim, and chairman of the board of directors for the “Gasoline Systems” division, Schwieberdingen. From 2010 to 2015, he was a member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH, and from July 2013 was also spokesman for the Automotive Technology business sector. From April 2015 to January 2018, Wolf was a member of the Board of Management of the Mahle Group, which he took over as chairman in July 2015. In February 2018, Wolf took over as CEO of automotive supplier ZF Friedrichshafen.
Thomas Schenk is a writer. He completed his M.B.A. at the University of St. Gallen and his MSc in Sustainable Development at the University of Basel. A former journalist for the “Neue Zürcher Zeitung,” he worked several years as a tram driver, which led to the book “Im Tram.” In 2010, Thomas received the literary award of the city of Zurich for “Im Schneeregen,” a novel about snow and rain. Given the volatile character of the book market, he works additionally as a journalist. He lives in Zurich and in Grindelwald in the Bernese Oberland.
René Scheu is Managing Partner of the Institute of Economic Policy (IWP). He is the former head of the Arts Section (Feuilleton) at NZZ. Prior to this, he was CEO of SMH Verlag and publisher and editor-in-chief of the “Schweizer Monat,” a liberal magazine for politics, economics, and culture. The “Schweizer Monat” was first published in 1921, and since then Karl Popper, Friedrich August von Hayek, Peter Sloterdijk, and Mario Vargas Llosa have been among the illustrious authors. René holds a Ph.D. in contemporary philosophy from the Universities of Zurich and Turin. His interests include philosophical anthropology, political liberalism, contemporary psychoanalysis, and oenology. He has also translated and published numerous Italian books into German (and vice versa), most recently “Zukunft des Staates – Staat der Zukunft” (Reclam 2021). In 2009, he received the sponsorship award of the Foundation for Occidental Ethics and Culture.
Natascha Schill is Senior Vice President and member of the Executive Committee at Swiss-based pharmaceutical firm Neurimmune, in charge of Project and Alliance Management. Natascha is a biopharmaceutical executive with more than 20 years of experience in regional and global roles across the biopharmaceutical value chain. Prior to joining Neurimmune in 2018, Natascha held various senior roles at Biogen focusing on the development, launch and commercialization of new drugs, and serving as the Managing Director of Biogen Switzerland AG. Natascha holds an M.S. in biochemical engineering from ETH Zurich and a Ph.D. from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EFPL).
Lukas Schinko is President of the Board of Directors and Chairman of the Board of Austria’s leading hearing care company Neuroth. In October 2011, at the age of 24, he took over as Chairman of the Board of Directors from his mother Waltraud Schinko-Neuroth. This means that the company is now managed by the fourth generation of the family. Before joining the company, he graduated in electrical engineering and thus built up a valuable understanding of the highly technical hearing aid sector. Schinko has been working in the family business since 2007 and completed the specialist training as a hearing aid acoustics master craftsman.
Rüdiger Schmid-Kühnhöfer is the Managing Partner of Deutsche Invest Capital Partners (DICP), an European alternative asset manager with a special focus on Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Today, DICP manages more than EUR 4bn across its 4 investment strategies: Capital Solutions, Special Situations, Venture Capital and Real Estate. Rüdiger supports several organizations in the financial services and property industries as a board member, advisor, investor and founder. He has significant international experience investing in, building, transforming and restructuring organizations across diverse industry sectors, including banking, asset management, insurance, automotive, real estate, business services, technology and leisure. Rüdiger studied law at the Universities of Bayreuth, Geneva and Tübingen as well as business administration at the Universities of Bayreuth and Geneva, London Business School and Harvard Business School. He holds a Ph.D. in European business law from the University of Cologne. Rüdiger is a member of YPO/Young Presidents’ Organization and Atlantik-Brücke.
Martin Scholl is CEO of Zürcher Kantonalbank (ZKB), Switzerland’s third largest bank. He undertook his bank training at ZKB and became a certified banking professional. Prior to his appointment as CEO in 2007, he was head of retail banking, and, between 2002 and 2005, was head of corporate banking at ZKB. Martin was a trainee at S.G. Warburg in Geneva and at Swiss Bank Corporation in New York. In 1999, he attended an executive program at Stanford in the United States. Martin is a member of the board of directors of the Swiss Bankers Association, Basel, and vice chairman of the board of directors and vice president of the executive committee of the Association of Swiss Cantonal Banks, Basel. He is also a member of the board of the Zürcher Volkswirtschaftliche Gesellschaft and economiesuisse, both based in Zurich. In 2002, he became a member of the board of directors of Venture Incubator in Zug.
Susanne Schroff is the Founder and President of SANNI Foundation, a non-profit foundation dedicated to the education of children and youth, the fight against extreme poverty, the promotion of health and the empowerment of women. The Foundation is currently supporting long-term projects in southern India, Myanmar and is also active in Germany and Switzerland. She is chairing the Schroff Foundation, a Family Foundation for the Purpose of Scientific Research. Until 2017 she was the Chairwomen and CEO of Rotronic, an internationally active company in the field of Electronics. Susanne was born and raised Germany and studied economics in Germany and the USA. She completed the “Cours de la Civilisation Française” at the Sorbonne in Paris and attended several education programs at Harvard Business School in Boston, USA.
Ben Schuler is a professor of Molecular Biophysics at the University of Zurich. Passionate for biological physics, he uses laser spectroscopy to study individual protein molecules, the molecular machines within our cells. The processes he is most interested in have an impact on a wide range of applications, from boiled eggs to Alzheimer’s disease. Besides science, Ben has a passion for English drama, winter sports, and ice cream. He doesn’t own a tie.
Christoph Schüpbach is the CEO of Regent Lighting, one of Europe’s leading industrial lighting companies. Prior to this, Christoph was the CEO for 11 years at the Schleuniger Group, a leading provider of solutions for the wire processing and testing industry (part of the listed Metall Zug Group, employs approximately 1000 people on three continents). Christoph has a bachelor in mechanical engineering and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School. He spent six years as Market Manager at Bystronic, responsible for Northern Europe and then for NAFTA and Asia. Prior to this, Christoph had spent ten years at ABB Group in serveral positions in Switzerland and Malaysia in his last position as Business Unit Manager Surge Protection.
Dirk Schütz is editor-in-chief of “Bilanz,” the leading Swiss business magazine. He attended the Hamburg School of Journalism, and holds a degree in economics and a degree in journalism from the universities of Geneva and Fribourg. Prior to his current job, he was editor-in-chief of the business weekly “Cash,” and deputy editor-in-chief of the German business magazine “Wirtschaftswoche.”
Ursula Schütze-Kreilkamp is the Head of Group Executives DB. Prior to her duties at DB, Ursula has worked at REWE Group’s HR Department for more than six years, being responsible for the Group Executives’ development. She holds a PhD in human medicine.
Patrick Schwarzenbach (born 1984) is a Swiss/Canadian pastor currently writing his thesis around Meister Eckharts concept of “Gelassenheit.” After finishing Gymnasium, he lived for three months in the monastery of Disentis. During his theology studies in Zurich, Kopenhagen, and Claremont (U.S.), he started to practice different forms of meditation (Christian, Zen, Yoga). Before he started his thesis and his work as a pastor in St. Gallen, he traveled to Russia, North Korea, and China. His work in St. Gallen includes the transformation of old religious practices into modern spiritual techniques to help people in their search for meaning. For example as the organizer of a vision quest being homeless in a city for a week; or last year, he lived three months in a Swiss forest honoring the birth year of Gallus, a famous Irish monk who founded St. Gallen. Patrick is currently teaching a CAS in Spirituality for the University of Zurich and the Reformierte Landeskirche Zurich.
Markus Seiler is the secretary general of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. He holds a PhD in international relations from the University of St Gallen and pursued his studies, mainly in the field of security and management, in the United States, France and Singapore. He entered the civil service in 1997, where he began working as adviser to then Federal Councillor Kaspar Villiger, Minister of Finance. In 2002, he transferred to the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) which was headed by Federal Councillor Samuel Schmid at the time. From 2005 to 2010, Markus held the post of DDPS secretary general before he was appointed as first head of the Federal Intelligence Service, a post he held from 2010 until 2017. On 1 December 2017 he was appointed secretary general of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs by Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis. He is a native of Ermatingen in the canton of Thurgau and is married with four children.
Daniel Sennheiser is the CEO of Sennheiser electronic. He leads the family-owned company in the third generation jointly with his brother Andreas. They share the mission to build the future of audio – always creating new and captivating sound experiences. Daniel likes to explore and drive innovative ways of working while holding fast to the company’s values and commitment to responsibility. Before joining Sennheiser in 2008, he worked at various communications agencies as well as for Procter & Gamble. Beyond work, Daniel is passionate about music, design and the arts.
Michael Sidler has co-founded Redalpine in 2006 and acts as General Partner for the Redalpine funds. Before Redalpine, Michael was responsible for corporate investments and M&A at Prionics AG, a Diagnostics / Biotech company in Schlieren, Switzerland, where under his guidance several acquisitions have been completed. From 1998 to 2003, Michael was with The Boston Consulting Group in Zürich and Toronto in several different industries (e.g. eBanking, Insurance, Automotive etc.) and roles. Michael holds a PhD in Life Sciences from University of Zürich. He is a member of several organizations, juries and boards for the support of innovation and startups and leads the VC chapter of SECA.
Beat Siegrist is chairman of Schweiter Technologies, a global leader in the Composite Materials Industry. Until 2012, he was president of Satisloh, which he sold in 2008 as CEO of Schweiter to Essilor for over CHF500 million. From 2008 until 2012, he was in the executive board of Essilor, world leader of ophthalmic lenses with €5 billion in sales. From 1996 until 2008, he was CEO of Schweiter Technologies and built it to over CHF1 billion sales today. As CEO, he personally managed the divisions SSM Textile Machinery, Satisloh and Ismeca Semiconductor. He previously worked as a consultant at McKinsey and founded companies in the field of outsourcing. He obtained a degree in engineering at ETH and a MBA at INSEAD Fontainebleau. He also serves on the board of various industrial companies quoted on the Swiss stock exchange.
Irina Siegrist is the CEO of Siegrist Beteiligungen.
Rita Sigg is an art collector and medical doctor. Together with her husband, Uli Sigg, Rita owns one of the most important collections of contemporary Chinese art in the world.
Uli Sigg grew up in Switzerland. He completed his studies with a Ph.D. at the University of Zurich’s Law Faculty. He then worked as journalist and editor for various Swiss newspapers and magazines. From 1977 to 1990, he worked at the Schindler Group, where he held positions as area manager for Asia Pacific and later member of the group executive committee and shareholders’ board. In 1980, he established the first joint venture between China and the West, and remained its vice chairman for 10 years. He then served on the boards of a number of global companies until 1995, when the Swiss government appointed him ambassador to China, North Korea, and Mongolia for four years. Upon his return to Switzerland, he again assumed the chairmanship or board membership of several multinational companies, such as Ringier Media Group. Presently, he also serves as a member of the advisory board of China Development Bank. He has spent many years in China, following the opening up of China and its contemporary art scene. He has formed the most substantial collection of contemporary Chinese art in the world. In 2012, he donated 1463 works to the Museum M+ in Hong Kong. In 1997, he also established the Chinese Contemporary Art Award (CCAA), now renamed Sigg Prize, an art award for Chinese contemporary artists living in Greater China,run by M+Museum and, in 2007, the CCAA Art Critic Award. He is a member of the International Council of New York’s MOMA, International Advisory Council of the Tate Gallery in London and M+ Board in Hong Kong.
Uwe Sommer is founder of the USOM AG, making various start-up investments and advising blue chip companies as well as owners. Recently he also joined p≡p Security as CCO and as an investor to grasp the opportunity to build p≡p into the leading cyber security brand globally. Beforehand he was CMO of the newly formed largest producer of plant based food Upfield in Amsterdam. Prior to this he was CEO of the Theo Müller Gruppe, a € 7 billion producer of dairy products and before he was for 24 years a member of the Group Management of Lindt & Sprüngli, a USD5 billion chocolate group, where he was primarily responsible for marketing and sales, and leading local CEOs. He gained his professional experience as an executive in the marketing/sales sector of Procter & Gamble and Mars in Germany and England, and as a CEO with Johnson & Johnson in Austria.
Roman Sonderegger is the CEO of the Helsana Group. As a Member of the Executive Board, he was previously responsible for the business division Finance & Insurance from May 2017. Roman has many years of experience in the insurance industry. From 2002 to 2011 he held various management positions with CSS Versicherung, with his final position being Group Deputy Head of Benefits. He then worked at Assura on behalf of Finma, where he served as CEO as well as CFO. His most recent position was as Advisory Director with Pricewaterhouse Coopers, where he was in charge of health insurance. Roman is a qualified business economist and obtained an Executive MBA from the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland.
Guy Spier is a Zurich-based investor and the author of “The Education of a Value Investor”. Since 1997, he has managed the Aquamarine Fund. Guy previously worked as an investment banker in New York, as a management consultant in London and Paris. He has an MBA from the Harvard Business School, class of 1993, and holds a First Class degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University. On graduating from Oxford, he was co- awarded the George Webb Medley prize for the best performance that year in economics. Spier serves on the board of the Swiss Friends of Oxford and is a supporter of UN Watch. Guy lives in Switzerland with his wife Lory and their three children, Eva, Isaac and Sarah.
Gerassimos Spyridakis is a Managing Director at Bank Julius Baer in Switzerland since January 2016. Prior to joining Julius Baer, he spent 19 years with Citigroup in NY, Brussels, London, Athens and Geneva. While at Julius Baer and Citi, Gerassimos held senior management positions including Global Head for Africa, Israel, Monaco, Greece, Cyprus and Turkey for the wealth management divisions. Before joining the finance sector in 1997, Gerassimos worked in Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Greece and Romania as a brand manager and management consultant for multinational companies such as United Distillers, Gallaher and Roche Pharmaceuticals. Gerassimos holds a BSc in Business Administration from the American College of Greece and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Manchester Business School in the UK. He has attended Executive Education courses at IMD in Lausanne and Insead in Paris. He is also an alumni of Singularity University in Silicon Valley in California, London Business School in Investment Management and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in Fintech. Gerassimos is also the President of MITEF South Europe (2020-2023) which is MIT’s acceleration program for startups. He serves as a board member, senior advisor or investor in a number of startups in Artificial Intelligence companies and the health care space. He currently serves at the European Executive Committee of YPO (Young President Organization) and as Chapter Chair of YPO Alpine Chapter in Switzerland. He is also part of Harvard Business School’s President Program and member of the Supervisory Board of the Argonaughts Leadership Community. He is a keen motorcyclist and the Founder of the Global Charity Initiative “Photography Without Frontiers”. His photography has been exhibited in London, Milan and Athens with the aim to support children in need around the world.
Peter Stamm is a bestselling novelist. After an apprenticeship as a bookkeeper, he spent several semesters studying English, psychology, and psychopathology. He spent extended periods in Paris and New York before returning to Switzerland to pursue a career as a freelance journalist and author. His work has appeared in leading newspapers and journals. He has also written plays and more than a dozen radio plays. In 1998, his first novel “Agnes” appeared. Since then he has published five more novels and four collections of short stories. Works of Peter have been translated into 39 languages. In the United States, his works are translated by Michael Hofmann and published by The Other Press, New York. His short stories were short-listed for the Frank O’Connor Short Story Award in 2006. In 2013, he was short-listed for the Man Booker International Prize. He lives with his family in Winterthur, Switzerland.
Klaas Enno Stephan is a computational neuroscientist and medical doctor. He is professor at both University of Zurich and ETH Zurich, where he is founder and director of the Translational Neuromodeling Unit (TNU). Additionally, he is Honorary Principal at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, London, and External Scientific Member of the Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Research, Cologne. Following a doctoral degree in medicine and a Ph.D. in neuroinformatics, Klaas has been developing mathematical models for inferring neuronal and cognitive processes from measurements of brain activity and behaviour. His goal is to establish “computational assays” that can quantify, in individual patients, the mechanisms that cause mental disorders (e.g., schizophrenia and depression) and aberrant brain-body interactions (e.g., psychosomatic disorders). Such assays could enable objective diagnostics and individualized treatment recommendations, thus leading to a redefinition of mental diseases and a transformation of clinical practice. To achieve this goal, Klaas founded the TNU, the first institution with the explicit mission statement to translate advances in computational neuroscience into diagnostic tools. At the TNU, computer scientists, engineers, psychologists, and clinicians jointly develop mathematical models of brain function and systematically evaluate their diagnostic use for psychiatry and psychosomatics in clinical studies. Klaas was one of the speakers at the 2011 Annual Symposium.
Thomas Stocker is a climate physicist at the University of Bern. He studied Environmental Physics at ETHZ and holds a PhD in Natural Sciences of ETHZ. After research positions in the UK, Canada and the USA he returned to Switzerland where he is the head of the division of Climate and Environmental Physics at the University of Bern since 1993. Thomas’ research focus is on understanding the Earth System using climate models and data from climate archives such as polar ice cores. He and his team have produced the iconic reconstruction of CO2 and methane concentrations of the past 800,000 years from an Antarctic ice core. From 2008 to 2015 Thomas was Co-Chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that provided the scientific foundation of the historical Paris Agreement to limit human-made climate change. Thomas was awarded honorary doctorates of the Université de Versailles and of ETHZ. Among other distinctions, Thomas is a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the German Academy of Science Leopoldina, and he is the 2017 recipient of the Swiss Science Prize Marcel Benoist.
Sabine Stoll is Professor at the Department of Comparative Linguistics and director of the Psycholinguistics Laboratory at the University of Zurich. She is the co-founder of the soon to be launched Center on the Interdisciplinary Study of the Evolution of Language (ISLE) at the University of Zurich. Her main research focus is on how children learn their first language. Sabine was awarded many different fellowships to study and conduct her research in many places of the world. After obtaining her PhD in 2002 from the University of California, Berkeley, she worked at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig. Sabine heads an international team of researchers working on language acquisition in different cultures all over the world. In 2014 she received an ERC Consolidator Grant for a project on universal learning strategies in maximally diverse languages.
Marc Strobel joined CVC Capital Partners in 2000 and has been a Partner since 2008. Prior to joining CVC, he worked at Doughty Hanson & Co. in Frankfurt and London. Marc holds an MBA from the Wharton School and a degree in business administration from the European Business School, Oestrich-Winkel, Germany.
Daniel Surbek is a medical doctor and professor at the University of Bern since 17 years, and Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Inselspital Bern. He was trained in Basel, London, and Philadelphia. His scientific interest focuses in stem cell research and prenatal medicine. His research is funded by Swiss National Fund, EU and NIH. Daniel is board member of several national and international medical societies. He is author of over 250 scientific publications and has received numerous awards. Daniel was founder of the Bern Charity event in favor of children with leukemia. His general interests include art and ethics in reproduction und human development.
Wojciech Szczepaniak is an innovative serial entrepreneur, lawyer and economist. A visionary investor, he is founder and chairman of Swiss-based Sparrowland Capital, an investment fund providing mezzanine financing, joint venture capital and private equity for selected trusted partners. Sparrowland has been successful in multiple industries including healthcare, professional services, logistics, real estate, FMCG, agriculture and food processing. Wojciech is the founder of a well-known multi-disciplinary commercial advisory firm which provides financial advice and a multi-family office based in Poland. In his private time, he enjoys outdoor activities, open-water swimming, hiking, road cycling and several competitive individual sporting disciplines. He has completed numerous Ironman triathlons.
Judit Szulagyi is a professor of Computational Astrophysics at ETH Zurich. Her research is focusing on planet & moon formation, planetary system evolution, and the Solar System. Judit started her career at NASA at age of 21 and completed her PhD in 2015 in France. She was subsequently a post-doctoral fellow at ETH Zurich, then moved with an Ambizione grant by the Swiss National Science Foundation to the University of Zurich. In 2021 January, she started a professorship at ETH Zurich and created her research group on Computational Astrophysics. In 2017, she was selected among the Forbes list of “30 under 30 in Science” for her contribution to understand better the formation of planets. In 2021, she was awarded with the Best Early Career Researcher in 2021 award in New Technologies by the European Astronomical Society. She is well known for develop models about formation planets and planetary systems, including moons orbiting around planets. Her research is also trying to answer how many habitable worlds could be out there, where life could have developed.
Thomas Szuran is the Chief Products and Marketing Officer at Galenica. He holds a PhD from the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, specialized in Biochemistry and Behavioral Biology. Thomas had various roles at Abbott Laboratories between 1997 and 2002, including Sales & Marketing Manager for the Eastern European & Mediterranean region. Therafter he was Sales Director at Pfizer Switzerland (Zurich) from 2002 to 2005 and Country Manager at Pfizer in Israel from 2005 to 2007. 2008 Thomas joined Biomed Ltd. (Dübendorf) as Marketing Director, and was CEO of Biomed Ltd. from 2011 to 2018. Since 2012 he became member of the Executive Board and from 2013 to 2020 he was President of the Association of the Swiss Self-Medication Industry (ASSGP). In 2019 he joined the Galenica Group as Head of the Products & Brands Business and member of the Corporate Executive Committee. Since 2021 he is the Chief Products & Marketing Officer of the Galenica Group.
Siyu Tang is a tenure-track assistant professor at ETH Zürich in the Department of Computer Science since January 2020. Her research focuses on computer vision and machine learning, specializing in perceiving and modeling humans. She received an early career research grant to start her research group at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in November 2017. She was a postdoctoral researcher in the same institute, advised by Dr. Michael Black. She obtained her Ph.D. at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in 2017, advised by Prof. Bernt Schiele. She has received several awards for her research, including the Best Paper Awards at BMVC 2012 and 3DV 2020, Best Paper Award Candidates at CVPR 2021, CVPR 2022, an ELLIS Ph.D. Award and a DAGM-MVTec Dissertation Award.
Silvana Tarlea is a postdoctoral researcher in political science at the University of Basel. She was a visiting researcher at the University of Berkeley in California and at the European University Institute in Florence before moving to Basel. Her research focuses on the political economy of education and on the European financial crisis. She got her PhD from Nuffield College, University of Oxford. Aside from work, Silvana is passionate about ashtanga yoga, coffee and chocolate, preferably not all at the same time.
Veronika Tasić Vušurović is a management consultant and business skills trainer. As a consultant, she works with clients all over Central and Eastern Europe, covering topics of strategy, sales and marketing, and investment – and helps employees advance their business skills. Veronika acts as strategic advisor for a leading corporate law practice in Southeast Europe, Karanovic & Partners. And she loves finding time to mentor tech startups via several incubators and accelerators. Veronika is passionate about creating and performing words, music and movement. She almost shamelessly uses every opportunity to promote the amazing wines from Serbia.
Fabian Unteregger is an award-winning Swiss comedian, qualified doctor and entrepreneur. Currently one of the most popular comedians in Switzerland, Unteregger has regular appearances on both Swiss national TV and radio and has performed several hundred solo comedy shows to date. His weekly comedy show «Zum Glück ist Freitag» on radio SRF 3 enjoys a broad fan base. Unteregger holds a doctorate in medicine from the University of Basel, and, both, a master in food science and teaching from ETH. His belief in tech and innovation led him to co-found «Swiss Healthcare Startups», an organisation aiming at fostering Switzerlands healthcare startup ecosystem. A keen aviation enthusiast, Fabian also enjoys playing music and can never resist a swim in the Lake of Zurich.
Viola Vogel (born in Tübingen, Germany) is a Professor of Applied Mechanobiology in the Department of Health Sciences and Technology at ETH Zurich. She has conducted pioneering work in the field of bionanotechnology and mechanobiology. Since so many diseases are associated with mechanical over- or understimulation, she deciphers the nanoscale machineries that bacteria and cells utilize to sense mechanical stimulations and to translate them into biochemical signals that change tissue functions and inflammatory processes. Applications are in stem cell differentiation, cancer, tissue engineering, the development of a new generation of drugs that target non-equilibrium protein structures, and new methods of preventing bacterial infections since many bacteria exploit mechano-regulated adhesion molecules. Her work was internationally recognized by numerous awards, major lectureships, services for international organizations (Human Frontiers Science Program, British Marshall Fund, Humboldt Foundation), the U.S. government (including the National Research Council and NASA), scientific advisory boards (Max-Planck Society, France, Netherlands, U.S.A., Singapore, U.K.). She was a member of the Global Agenda Council of the World Economic Forum, serves on the Jury of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering and was recently elected into the Leopoldina and the National Academy of Engineering, USA. Viola enjoys exploring other cultures, international science policies, as well as photography, painting, skiing, and hiking.
Julia Vogt is an assistant professor in Computer Science at ETH Zurich, where she leads the Medical Data Science Group. The focus of her research is on linking machine learning with medicine, with the ultimate aim of personalized patient treatment. Julia has studied mathematics both in Konstanz and in Sydney. She earned her Ph.D. in computer science at the University of Basel, and she was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in NYC.
Meike Vogt is a senior researcher in the Environmental Physics Group at the Federal Institute of Technology Zurich in Switzerland. Meike received her diploma in theoretical particle physics from the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, and completed her Ph.D. in environmental sciences at the University of East Anglia in Norwich and the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena. She is a marine biogeochemist with a particular interest in the characterization and functioning of lower trophic level ocean ecosystems, in the response of marine ecosystems to climate change, and the feedback of marine ecosystems to global biogeochemical cycles and climate. In her spare time, she enjoys reading a good book and roaming the Swiss forests on the back of one of her horses.
Thomas Vollmoeller is Chairman of eDreams ODIGEO S.A. in Barcelona, member of the board at Franz Haniel & Cie. GmbH, Ravensburger AG, Conrad Electronic SE and member of the advisory council of Stiftung Mercator. Previously, he was CEO of New Work SE, the home of XING, kununu and other well-known brands in the working world, as well as of Valora AG, a Basel-based retail company. Before joining Valora, Thomas worked eleven years for the German food and retail company Tchibo, where he served in two executive board functions. Prior to his work at Tchibo, Thomas had been a member of the McKinsey consulting staff for over nine years with specific work experience in European consumer goods and supply chain topics. During this time, he also gained his Ph.D. in economics at Hochschule St. Gallen.
Daniel von Stockar is an entrepreneur. He is the majority owner and Chairman of software company SoftwareOne, with more than 3000 employees in 80 countries and revenues exceeding $7bn.
Julia Vorholt is a Professor of Microbiology at ETH Zurich. She studied in Bonn and Marburg, did her PhD thesis at the MPI Marburg and a postdoc at the University of Washington in Seattle. She then led a group at the CNRS in Toulouse for five years. Since 2006 she enjoys living in Zurich with her family. Julia has broad interests in microbiology and beyond. She started out from the ancient biochemistry of methane-forming archaea and then turned to aerobic methane and methanol utilizing bacteria. She pioneered the use of synthetic bacterial communities for plant microbiome research to improve our understanding in plant microbe interactions. Julia also develops tools to inject into and extract from single cells to address fundamental questions in biology using fluidic force microscopy (FluidFM). She is co-director of the NCCR Microbiomes and an elected member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, the European Academy of Microbiology and of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO).
Axel Wachholz is the Group Chief Financial Officer of Phoenix Contact, a leading electronics and automation firm with sales of € 2.48 bn and 17,600 employees. Phoenix Contact was founded in 1923 and is family-owned. After his studies in mechanical engineering, Axel started his professional career in the metals processing industry, followed by several years in a renowned consultancy firm. During this time he managed multiple strategy, operational excellence and financial advisory projects in privately held as well as in stock-listed companies. In 2005, he took over a senior financial management position in the automotive industry with assignments in Europe, the U.S.A. and China. In 2011, Axel became the CFO of a leading sanitary goods company and assumed duties for finance, controlling, M&A, business administration, IT and family affairs. In 2018, he was appointed CFO of Phoenix Contact. From 2004 onwards, Axel was ranked in the Capital “40 under 40” list, a German ranking of above average noticeable and well-positioned managers who are thought to have a high impact on tomorrow’s business world and changing perspectives. He has a proven track record as a skilled performance architect and change agent. Axel has a positive “can do” attitude and is a passionate tennis player, cyclist and skier. He is married with two children.
Andreas Waelti is CEO and co-owner of Evatec. Born in Basel, Switzerland, Andreas completed his apprenticeship in electrical and mechanical engineering before he completed his degree in Microsystem Technology at University of Applied Sciences in Buchs, Switzerland, in 1999. After returning to the vacuum and thin film technology industry as Product Manager at Unaxis Balzers, he was responsible for successful growth of their rewritable optical disc equipment business before founding Evatec AG in 2004. Under his leadership since that time, the company has grown to a global workforce of more than 600 people delivering thin film production tools to the Advanced Packaging, Semiconductor, Optoelectronics and Photonics industries. From 5G to Micro LED, face recognition or autonomous driving technologies, the thin film sensors and filters manufactured on Evatec systems enable innovations in connectivity, mobility, data processing, energy efficiency and smart sensing.
Andreas Wallraff is a professor of physics at ETH Zurich. With his team he develops quantum computers and quantum communication systems which aim at surpassing the capabilities of current information technologies. Large-scale quantum computers are expected to efficiently solve some of the most complex problems. These range from determining the properties of large molecules, e.g. for pharmaceutical applications, and finding the best solution to optimization problems, to breaking cryptographic codes. Pursuing these goals, Andreas and colleagues were the first to develop electronic circuits in which information is processed by exchanging individual quanta of microwave radiation (photons) between information storage elements (qubits). This approach is now widely recognized as essential in the realization of quantum information processors which is pursued by academic labs, IT industry including IBM, Google and Microsoft and an increasing number of startups. Andreas is the founding director of the Quantum Center at ETH Zurich and leads the development superconducting quantum computers at the ETH Zurich – PSI Quantum Computing Hub. Andreas studied physics at RWTH Aachen, Imperial College London, and University Erlangen-Nuremberg. He was a research scientist at Yale University. He received prestigious grants by the European Research Council, was recognized by the ETH Zurich Max Roessler Prize and is a Helmoltz International Fellow. In his spare time, Andreas is an avid ice hockey player and skier.
Alex Wassmer is owner, chairman, and delegate of the board of KIBAG Holding AG, one of the leading construction companies in Switzerland. He is also a member of the board of Probst Maveg SA, Crissier. Since 2002, Alex has been a member of the board of the Kunsthalle Foundation in Bern and, since 2014, a member of the board of trustees of the Dachstiftung Kunstmuseum Bern and Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern. Since 2020 he is also the Chairman of CVVC AG, a venture capital company in Zug, Switzerland that specializes in blockchain investments. Alex holds a law degree from the University of Bern. He is Chairman of the board of WORLD.MINDS.
Roger Wattenhofer is a professor at the Information Technology and Electrical Engineering Department, ETH Zurich, Switzerland. He received his doctorate in Computer Science from ETH Zurich. He also worked some years at Microsoft Research in Redmond, Washington, at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. His research interests are algorithmic and systems aspects in computer science and information technology, e.g., distributed systems, positioning systems, wireless networks, mobile systems, social networks, financial networks, e-voting, deep neural networks. His work received multiple awards, e.g. the Prize for Innovation in Distributed Computing for his work in Distributed Approximation. He published the book “Blockchain Science: Distributed Ledger Technology“, which has been translated to Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese.
Eilika Weber-Ban is a Professor at the Institute for Molecular Biology & Biophysics of the ETH Zurich. With her research group she investigates how the essential balance of proteins in mycobacteria is maintained and adapted and how these pathways are controlled. Eilika studied Biochemistry in Germany and has obtained her doctoral degree and professional training in the United States. Aside from a demanding schedule as a scientist, she loves to spend time with her husband and two sons (born 2000 and 2003) who keep her sane and drive her crazy in equal measures.
Esther Wehrle is a Senior Scientist at ETH Zurich and leading the In vivo mechanomics team at the Laboratory for Bone Biomechanics. The team is aiming for a systems-level understanding of the mechano-molecular mechanisms governing load-induced bone adaptation and regeneration with the aim to also transfer this knowledge on mechanomics to clinical applications. Combining expertise from different disciplines (e.g. biology, engineering, veterinary medicine) allows for a multi-scale and multi-disciplinary approach combining in vivo models with in silico modelling and omics technologies (e.g. gene editing, time-lapsed in vivo micro-computed tomography, micro-finite element analyses, in silico models). Esther’s background is in veterinary medicine (LMU Munich) and biomedical engineering (TU Munich). After working in a referral clinic for small animals in the UK, she returned to academia, where she focused on molecular biological methods and bone healing during doctoral projects in Munich and Ulm. In 2014, she joined the Institute for Biomechanics at ETHZ and obtained an ETH postdoc fellowship to study the mechano-molecular regulation of bone healing (2016-2017). Currently, she is continuing the work on musculoskeletal regeneration in an ERC and SNF/COST project dealing with the mechanomics of musculoskeletal adaptation in aging, aiming to develop new and optimize current intervention therapies for osteosarcopenia and musculokeletal regeneration.
Thomas Wellauer is chairman of SIX Group which operates the Swiss and Spanish stock exchanges and the infrastructure of the Swiss financial center. Thomas started his career as a senior partner at McKinsey. In 1997, he was named CEO of Winterthur Insurance, which was later acquired by Credit Suisse. At Credit Suisse, he was a member of the group executive board with responsibility for the insurance, retail banking and private banking businesses. After three years at Clariant where he headed the global turnaround project, he joined Novartis as Head of Corporate Affairs and member of its Group Executive Committee. From 2010 to 2019 he was Group Chief Operating Officer of Swiss Re. He currently also serves on the supervisory board of Aegon N.V. having been a member of the boards of Munich Re and Syngenta before. He also is chairman of the University Hospital Zurich Foundation and chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce Switzerland. Thomas holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from ETH and a masters degree in business economics from the University of Zurich. Besides his business interests, Thomas is a passionate traveler.
Joachim Wenning is the CEO of Munich RE. He was born in Jerusalem, Israel, in 1965. After obtaining a degree in economics at the University of Munich, he joined Munich Re in 1991, where he worked until early 1997 as a treaty specialist with technical responsibility for life reinsurance clients in Germany. Parallel to this, Joachim wrote his doctoral thesis, for which he was awarded the designation of Dr. oec. publ. in 1995. At the beginning of 1997, Joachim transferred to the Group company Hamburg-Mannheimer Versicherungs-AG in Hamburg for two and a half years, during which time he implemented a number of strategic projects to realign marketing and sales. Following his return from Hamburg, he headed the department “Life Reinsurance Latin America, Southern Europe and the Middle East” from mid-2000 onwards, with responsibility for life reinsurance business in these areas. Following his appointment in May 2005 to the position of CEO of New Re, Geneva, Joachim took over responsibility for the company’s strategic development, with an expanded mandate for financial solutions in life and health reinsurance and for financial institutions business. Joachim has been a Member of the Board of Management of Munich Re since 1 January 2009. From January 2009 to January 2017, he was responsible for the Life Division, and from October 2013 until April 2017 he was also responsible for the Human Resources division and held the position of Labour Relations Director. Joachim was appointed Chair of the Board of Management with effect from 27 April 2017. In addition to his current responsibilities, he was also responsible for Group Holdings from April 2017 to March 2019. He is currently responsible for Group Strategy and M&A; Group Communications; Group Audit; Economics, Sustainability and Public Affairs; Group Human Resources; Group Executive Affairs, and Group Compliance and Legal.
Thomas Werlen is the Managing Partner of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan (Schweiz) GmbH. Quinn Emanuel is the world’s largest litigation-only law firm. Both a US- and Swiss-qualified attorney, his practice focuses on white collar and corporate investigations as well as on cross-border litigation, international arbitration and complex financial disputes. He was involved among other things in high-profile matters such as FIFA, Sika and more recently in a regulatory investigation of a large Swiss financial organization. Thomas is recognized as one of the top attorneys in Switzerland. He has gained unique experience at the highest levels in law firms in New York and London (Cravath, Swaine & Moore, Davis Polk & Wardwell and Allen & Overy). Later he served for six years as Group General Counsel and Member of the Executive Committee for global pharma company Novartis. In August 2019, Thomas has been named Professor for finance and capital markets law at the University of St. Gallen. Thomas lectures there and at the University of Zurich on corporate governance, finance, banking, securities and corporate law. Originally from Valais, Thomas likes hiking and mountaineering and is an avid skier.
Marc Werner is the CEO of Galenica, a listed company that is the leading fully-integrated healthcare provider in Switzerland (over CHF 3.3 billion turnover and over 7’000 FTE’s). Galenica operates the largest network of pharmacies in Switzerland and offers well-known own brands and products, exclusive brands and products from business partners as well as a variety of on-site health services and tests for customers. With over 500 own, joint venture and independent partner pharmacies, the network of pharmacies offers unique potential for the sale of these and other brands. Galenica is also the leading provider of pre-wholesale and wholesale distribution services in the Swiss healthcare market. Prior to joining Galenica, Marc was a member of the executive board of Swisscom, responsible for the Consumer Business. In the past few years, Marc was involved in several start-ups and is still active in several of them. He is passionate about sports and is a multiple Ironman (triathlon) finisher – and sometimes he loves to ride his Harley with a couple of Friends.
Simone Wietlisbach is a certified mental coach, nutrition and health consultant and founder of Powerlife AG and Powerhair AG, established in 2001, respectively 2014. In her 20 years of practice, she has successfully advised and treated over 8’000 customers worldwide in matters of hair, nutrition and health. She is also a co-founder and member of the board of the Ursimone Wietlisbach Foundation, which pursues charitable and philanthropic purposes in the areas of people in need, culture, sport. It supports people in misfortune, distress or need by launching, promoting and supporting appropriate projects in Switzerland and emerging and developing countries. Furthermore, the foundation promotes research and innovation in the field of health, especially with regard to alternative healing methods. It promotes measures, projects and institutions for the benefit of holistic health of body, mind and soul. Recently, she has been appointed as a board member of Arosa Kulm – Hotel AG. Besides her business life, Simone is a loving wife to Urs Wietlisbach and a devoted mother to two sons.
Urs Wietlisbach is the Co-Founder of Partners Group. He is an executive member of Partners Group Holding AG’s Board of Directors, based in Zug. Urs is Chairman of the Board’s Client Oversight Committee and he is a Board Observer of the Board of Directors of the firm’s current portfolio company KR Group, UK. He is also a Board member of Blue Earth Capital AG and a member of the Board of Trustees of Blue Earth Foundation, a foundation that focuses on impact investing globally. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of HSG Foundation, the foundation of the University of St. Gallen. In addition, he is Co-President of “Schweizer Sporthilfe”, a foundation that supports Swiss athletes and he is chairman of the Board of Trustees of “Passion Schneesport”, which supports young talent of Swiss Ski. Together with his wife Simone, he is co-founder and member of the board of the Ursimone Wietlisbach Foundation, which pursues charitable and philanthropic purposes in the areas of people in need, culture, sport. It supports people in misfortune, distress or need by launching, promoting and supporting appropriate projects in Switzerland and emerging and developing countries. Prior to founding Partners Group, he worked at Goldman Sachs & Co. and Credit Suisse. He has over 30 years of industry experience and holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of St. Gallen (HSG), Switzerland.
Lukas Winkler is CEO of INFICON Holding AG in Bad Ragaz, a position which he has held since 2004. INFICON is a spin-off of the former Oerlikon/Unaxis group and went public in November 2000 on the Swiss Stock Exchange. Before becoming CEO, Lukas held several management positions within the Oerlikon/Unaxis’ vacuum technology businesses, starting in 1993 as Logistics Manager. He first job was with General Motors Europa AG in Glattbrugg, after which he worked as a SAP project manager at Maschinenfabrik Rieter AG in Winterthur. He has a masters degree in engineering from ETH Zurich and an Executive MBA from Syracuse University.
Christof Wolfisberg and Jonas Anderhub are OHNE ROLF. They are virtuosos of printed improvisation. With their absurd and ingenious play on words, they move somewhere between theater, comedy, and animated comic strip. In 1999, they tried out their poster idea for the first time. With deadpan faces they placed themselves in a crowded street holding up a poster saying: “There is nothing to be seen here.” Passers-by were puzzled. Was there really nothing to be seen? Another poster had the answer: “Move on, there is really nothing to be seen!” Over the last 15 years, OHNE ROLF have been performing their programs on many stages and in many TV shows in German, French, English, and Chinese. OHNE ROLF are winners of diverse theater awards. Ohne Rolf performed at the inaugural WORLD.MINDS Belgrade in 2019.
Hans Jakob Wörner (born 1981) is professor of physical chemistry at ETH Zurich. His research group produces some of the world’s shortest laser flashes ever made, with durations measured in billionths of billionths (10–18) of seconds. These flashes are short enough to make movies of electrons orbiting around nuclei inside matter. He and his group have applied these revolutionary tools to understand the molecular processes underlying processes like chemical reactions and solar energy conversion. He grew up in Germany, where he attended French schools, then studied in Lausanne and Zurich before spending several years as a researcher in France and Canada. He has won many prestigious prizes, most recently the Klung Wilhelmy Science Award. He is the father of two children and enjoys road cycling and playing the piano.
Peter Würtenberger is Executive Vice President at Axel Springer (Europe’s leading digital publisher). Previously Peter held positions as CEO of UPDAY for SAMSUNG, CMO of Axel Springer SE, responsible for growing print and digital advertising revenues, as CEO of the WELT Newspaper Group and as CEO of BILD.T-Online. Before Axel Springer he served in various management positions at Yahoo! and Bertelsmann. Peter holds a degree in Business Management from Cologne University and completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. From 2008 to 2012 he was an active member of the Group of Young Global Leaders at the World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland. In 2013 he spent 10 months on a digital research project in Palo Alto, Silicon Valley, in order to support Axel Springer’s digital transformation. In his free time he enjoys music, contemporary arts and sports.
Kurt Wüthrich (born in Switzerland) divides his time between positions of Professor of Biophysics at the ETH Zurich in Switzerland, Cecil H. and Ida M. Green Professor of Structural Biology at the Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in La Jolla, CA, USA, Distinguished Senior Professor at the iHuman Institute of ShanghaiTech University in China, and Adjunct Distinguished Professor at the Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST) in Daegu, Korea. His research interests are in structural biology and structural genomics. His specialty is nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy with biological macromolecules in solution (which means figuring out the structure and chemistry of the “molecules of life” in their natural environment). Kurt’s current research interests focus on G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), which perform a wide range of life-supporting functions in higher organisms. The human body contains 826 different GPCRs, which are targets for about 40% of all FDA-approved prescription drugs. Kurt’s achievements have been recognized by the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2002, the Prix Louis-Jeantet de Médecine in 1993, the Kyoto Prize in Advanced Technology in 1998, and other awards and honorary degrees. Kurt also holds the “Eidgenössisches Turn- und Sportlehrerdiplom,” and he played in a competitive soccer league well beyond the age of 50. He enjoys fishing trips and is a member of the Mercury Bay Game Fishing Club in Whitianga, New Zealand, which lists Ernest Hemingway among its past members. Kurt spoke at the very first Annual Symposium, and was one of the speakers at the inaugural WORLD.MINDS Belgrade in 2019. The Nobel Prize Winner serves on the WORLD.MINDS Executive Advisory Board.
Silvan O. Wyss is CEO of IHAG Holding, a Swiss independent and family-owned entrepreneurial investment company. Prior to joining IHAG Holding, Silvan held several C-level positions in small and large financial institutions in Europe and the Americas. Silvan has been passionate about investing, growing businesses and leading company-wide operational excellence programs. Silvan studied Mechanical Engineering (ETH Zurich) and Business Administration (MIT Sloan School of Management). Besides his business career, Silvan enjoys sailing and watchmaking.
Wenchao Xu is a tenure track assistant professor in the Department of Physics at ETH Zürich since August, 2022. She currently is also a group leader at Paul Scherrer Institute. Her group focuses on implementing quantum technologies with experimental platforms based on neutral cold atoms. Her research is devoted to developing new schemes for scalable quantum computation and quantum simulation, investigating fundamental open questions in quantum dynamics, and implementing quantum information processing protocols with mid-circuit measurement and feedback. Prior to join ETH Zurich, she worked as a postdoctoral associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University (a joint position) between 2018 and 2022. She received her Ph.D. in physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2018.
Oleg Yazyev (born 1981) is a professor of physics at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). His research applies the tools of computational physics to the design and discovery of novel materials that one day may revolutionize technology and the way we live. He received prestigious grants such as the Swiss National Science Foundation professorship and the European Research Council starting grant as well as the University Latsis Prize in 2018. Oleg is also passionate about mountains.
Sascha Zahnd is the former EVP EMEA and Global Supply Chain at Tesla. Now, he is an independent board member and investor.
Eva Zehentner is a senior research and teaching assistant in English linguistics at the English department of the University of Zurich. Before moving to Switzerland, she got her PhD at the University of Vienna, followed by a stint as a lecturer in Languages and Linguistic Science at the University of York in the UK.
Eunice Zehnder-Lai is Vice-Chairwoman of Geberit and Board Member of DKSH and Julius Bär. She is a Trustee of Asia Society and Board Member of education.org and the Orpheum Foundation. She holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from Harvard University.
Marcy Zenobi-Wong is an Associate Professor of Tissue Engineering and Biofabrication at ETH Zurich. She has led a FIFA-sponsored research team on Cartilage Engineering + Regeneration at ETH Zurich. She uses advanced manufacturing methods including bioprinting to produce patient-specific living grafts for use in orthopaedic and reconstructive surgery. Her research team has founded the company CellSpring, which develops 3D microtissues for drug screening. Besides work and taking care of her four children, Marcy’s hobbies include oil painting and 3D printing art sculptures.
Renato Zenobi is Professor for Analytical Chemistry at ETH Zurich. He is best known for using modern mass spectrometry methods to solve problems in the life sciences, for his contributions to understanding ion formation mechanisms in laser mass spectrometry, and for the invention of tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy, a method that allows one to gain detailed molecular information on the nanometer scale. Together with clinicians at the University Hospital Zurich, he is developing a mass spectrometric “chemical nose” that could revolutionize medical diagnosis. He is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, most recently an ERC Advanced Grant from the EU (2017) and the 2019 “Golden Owl” award honoring excellent teaching at ETH Zurich. Renato also enjoys sports (skiing, ski mountaineering, tennis, running, biking, unicycling), and is a semi-professional violinist, performing regularly in concerts. He plays orchestral and chamber music as well as gipsy jazz.
Mengjie Zhao is a second year Ph.D student in the lab of Intelligent Maintenance and Operations Systems at EPFL, supervised by Olga Fink. Born in a fishing village on an island near Shanghai, Mengjie traveled 9,000 kimometers to Munich to complete her enginnering degree at Technical University of Munich. Following her interest in data-driven engineering applications, she started her Ph.D in predictive maintainance at EPFL. In the future, she would like to contribute more in the clean energy sector.
Markus Zürcher studied Swiss history, economy, and sociology at the University of Bern and, as a visiting student, at the University of Lancaster. He worked both as auxiliary assistant and as assistant at the Institute of Sociology of the University of Bern. In 1994, Markus was promoted under Prof. C. Honegger. Since 1995 he has been working at the Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences (SAHSS), where he has been the secretary general since 2002. In November 2006, he held the chair of the board of directors of the newly founded Academies of Arts and Sciences Switzerland until 2016. In 1999, Markus finished his postdoc study as a Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) at the Institut de hautes études en administration publique (IDHEAP) in Lausanne. From 2000 to 2010, he held various assignments as lecturer in sociology and in history of social sciences at the universities of Fribourg and Bern. At the PHW Bern, he teaches Scientific Methods. Topics such as science studies, research politics, social politics, public management and aging society are within his field of interest.