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Carole Ackermann is CEO and co-founder of Diamondscull AG, a company investing in early stage companies in the technology/ICT field. She is independent member of different boards such as Allianz Suisse, BKW, BVZ Holding, Plaston Group and Swiss TXT, president of Business Angles Switzerland and jury member of several start-up initiatives – among them Venture kick, venture and top 100 startups. 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.
Nick Adamus (born in 1964) is the founder and CEO of Swiss Dragon Group Ltd. in Hong Kong, 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 (born 1969) is founder and chairman of Armada Investment Group, 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 member of the Swiss Federal Railways Management Board since 2013, responsible for Communications, Politics & Regulation, Strategic Marketing and Sustainability. Prior to this, she was member of the Management Board of Swisscom AG, Switzerland’s biggest telecommunications company. Kathrin is a pharmacist with a PHD from the University of Basel. She has been politically active for many years, serving as a Member of Parlament at the National Council of Switzerland. In her early career, Kathrin was with Ciba-Geigy and Novartis as Project Manager in Production and Development, as Human Resources Manager, President of the Employee Representation Council and Vice President of the Trustees of the Pension Fund.
Thomas Amstutz (born 1967) 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.
Maria Asplund is group leader of the Electroactive Coatings research group at the department of Microsystems Engineering, IMTEK, in Freiburg, Germany. Her scientific interest is bio-electronic engineering with a focus on tissue-device interaction and biomaterials. Her work has resulted in several new coating technologies which help making future electrodes and sensors for neuro-electronic interfaces smaller, more energy efficient and durable. As a winner of an ERC Starting Grant in 2017, she is currently developing a new concept for tissue engineering which can support healing of complicated skin wounds by electrostimulation. Maria has a MSc in Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering (Linköping 2003) and a PhD from the Royal Institute of Technology (Stockholm, 2009). She is a member of the Cluster of Excellence BrainLinks-BrainTools, a grantee within ERC and the Brigitte-Schlieben-Lange Fellowship Program.
Artur Avila Cordeiro de Melo (born 1979) 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, Avila 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, Arthur 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.
Avi Avital (born 1978) is an Israeli mandolinist, composer, and performer. He is best known for his renditions of well-known Baroque and folk music, much of which was originally written for other instruments. He has been nominated for a Grammy Award (Best Instrumental Soloist with Ensemble) and in 2013 signed a record agreement with Deutsche Grammophon. Avi was born in the Israeli city of Be’er Sheva and showed an aptitude for the mandolin at an early age; by the time he was eight years old, he was performing with a local orchestra. He went on to study at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and the Cesare Pollini Conservatory of Music in Padua, Italy, where the focus of his work moved from mandolin transcriptions of violin pieces to those originally written with his instrument in mind. His study in Italy was sponsored by the America-Israel Cultural Foundation. Avi has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Forbidden City Concert Hall, the Berlin Philharmonie, and has performed with a number of international orchestras and chamber groups. In 2013, he performed on a tour with the Geneva Camerata. In addition to the Grammy nomination, he has won Israel’s Aviv Competition and received Germany’s ECHO Prize. Avi’s recording debut, a collection of sonatas and concertos entitled Bach, was released in 2012.
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.
Beat Balzli (born in 1966) is the editor-in-chief of Wirtschaftswoche. Prior to this, he was editor-in-chief of the “Welt am Sonntag” publication. He grew up in Lucerne and studied economics in Bern and Paris. After a short period of working in finance, he committed himself to journalism and published the book “Treuhänder des Reiches” in 1997. In Switzerland, he wrote for the “Handelszeitung”, “Sonntagszeitung”, and “Facts” before he worked around nine years for “Der Spiegel”, where he won several prizes, i.e., Wirtschaftsjournalist des Jahres and the Henri-Nannen-Preis. In Hamburg, Beat has also presented his photographic art at several exhibitions.
Nenad Ban is a professor of structural molecular biology at ETH Zurich. He was born in Zagreb, Croatia, and earned his B.S. degree in molecular biology and biochemistry at the University of Zagreb. In 1994, he obtained his Ph.D. in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of California at Riverside, where his research focused on structural immunology and virology. He continued his career at Yale University, spearheading the X-ray crystallographic structure determination of the large ribosomal subunit, the central cellular assembly responsible for protein synthesis in all organisms, and determined its atomic structure in the group in the laboratory of Thomas Steitz. In 2000, Nenad was appointed assistant professor of structural molecular biology at the ETH Zurich, becoming full professor in 2007. Since his start at the ETH Zurich, his group has been studying ribosomes and their functional complexes using a combination of crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy, providing ground-breaking insights into the process of protein synthesis in all kingdoms of life. Nenad is a member of EMBO and the German Academy of Sciences and the recipient of several awards. 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 was appointed chairman of the board of Longbow Finance in Lutry, and member of the board of AMAG LTD in Zurich. Since 2015, he is chairman of the board of BENECARE Foundation, in Vaduz, focusing on charity, and the Vice-Chairman of the Foundation Board of the Asia Society of Switzerland, in Zurich. Since 2017, he has been a Member of the Board of Crypto Fund Ltd. in Zug. In addition, he is the honorary chairman of the Julius Baer Group since 2012, over which he presided from 2003 to 2012.
Rudolf Bär (born 1938) is currently 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.
Nik Bärtsch (born 1971) is a Zurich-based pianist, composer, producer and music entrepreneur. He was born in Zurich and studied jazz piano and drums since he was 8 years old. In 1997 he did a classical piano diploma at the Musikhochschule Zurich and studied philosophy, linguistics and musicology at the University of Zurich (not completed) from 1998 to 2001. In 2003/04 he stayed in Japan to study the culture, especially music, meditation and aikido. He is the leader of the Zenfunk Band RONIN and the acoustic music ritual group MOBILE which are playing all around the globe. Nik is the founder of the record label Ronin Rhythm and a co-founder of the music club EXIL and of the indie classical festival Apples&Olives. He gives workshops und lectures at several institutions (f.e. Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance London (UK), Musikhochschule für Musik und Theater Leipzig (DE), Zürcher Hochschule der Künste (CH), Accademia Di Architettura Mendrisio (CH), ETH Zürich (CH)). His records are released on the renowned international label ECM.
Urs Baumann (born 1967) is co-founder and CEO of 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.
Beatrice Beck Schimmer is professor of anaesthesiology at the Medical Faculty of the University of Zurich, where she actively involved in patient care at the Institute of Anaesthesiology at the University Hospital Zurich. Beside her clinical activity, which focuses mainly on complex thoracic and visceral anaesthesia, she has established a research group with highly motivated young physician scientists within the institution as well as at the Zurich Center for Integrative Human Physiology, where they perform basic, translational and clinical research. Beatrice’'s research topics are lung immunopathology, perioperative organ protection and nanomedicine. In August 2018, she will start a new position as Director of Medicine and member of the Executive Board of the University of Zurich. Beatrice has a family with two boys (23 and 20 years old). She is a passionate tennis player.
Numa Bischof Ullmann (born 1970) has been the artistic and executive director of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra since 2004. During his tenure, the orchestra has become one of the leading Swiss orchestras with an international scope. Having nearly doubled both its budget and its number of concerts, the orchestra today performs in first-class venues all over Europe and Asia and records for global labels. Numa also developed a new entrepreneurial approach to financing and running a cultural institution. For this purpose, in 2008, he founded the private foundation “Stiftung für das Luzerner Sinfonieorchester” funded by major Swiss entrepreneurs. He is also the founder and artistic director of a new festival called Zaubersee, dedicated to Russian Music and centered in Lucerne, and serves as the vice president of the national association for symphonic orchestras. Besides this, he serves as a board member for an international charity foundation and acts as a jury member for competitions and award-giving institutions. Numa studied languages, musicology and cello in Basel and Zurich and received a degree in business in Basel. Raised in Switzerland, France, and Italy with extensive travels to Asia, Africa, North and South America, a multilingual environment remains a crucial necessity in his life.
Kipper Blakeley is the Producer of WORLD.MINDS and is the Managing Editor of the WORLD.MINDS Magazine, the closed circulation magazine sent out once a year to our community around the world. He lives at a lake in eastern Switzerland with his wife and son.
Philippe Blatter (Swiss, born in 1964) is President & CEO of Infront, a leading global sports 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 180 rights holders with a 1,000-strong team in 39 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, consisting of Infront, the iconic triathlon brand IRONMAN and Wanda Sports China. Before joining Infront in 2005, Philippe spent 10 years as partner at McKinsey & Company. He also served as a board member of the non-profit organisation 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 16 full IRONMAN races to date.
Barbara Bleisch is a member of the Research Center for Ethics at the University of Zurich and currently an academic guest at the Collegium Helveticum at the ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich. She has worked on global justice and issues of poverty alleviation and published many articles and books on the topic. Barbara is currently working on the ethics of the family (especially on the moral status of the child, on parental and filial obligations, and on the ethics of reproductive technologies) and on the ethics in the digital age. Besides her academic position, Barbara has been working as a journalist for more than 15 years. She is currently one of the moderators of “Sternstunde Philosophie,” a talkshow on philosophy on SRF_1 and she writes a column for the ‘Philosophie Magazin’ in Berlin. Since her studies, Barbara has been passionate about bringing philosophy to the public sphere. She has written, thus, a book about ethical decision-making in business and politics, and she teaches philosophy in different executive master’s programs. Her most recent publication with Hanser Publishing is on the question what adult children owe their parents.
Martin Bosshardt studied at the ETH in Zurich and 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 2011, Martin was awarded with the SVC Entrepreneurs Award. Since 2013 he has been a member of the Advisory Board of PwC Switzerland.
Christoph Brand (born 1969) is a member of the group management board and head of the digital business at Tamedia AG, one of the largest Swiss media groups. In this role, he is also chairman or member of the board of a number of companies held partially or fully by Tamedia, such as Homegate, Jobs.ch, Zattoo, Doodle, 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 also held various board positions in the ICT environment. He is married and father to a son.
Pascale Bruderer is a member of Switzerland’s parliament (2002-2011 National Council, since 2011 Council of states). 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.
Ton Büchner (born 1965) is a non-executive Board member at Novartis in Switzerland and at Voith in Germany. Until late 2017, he was the CEO of AkzoNobel, headquartered in the Netherlands. Until 2011, he was CEO of Sulzer AG in Switzerland. 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 studied civil engineering at the TU Delft in the Netherlands and holds an M.B.A. from IMD in Lausanne.
Riet Cadonau (born 1961) is CEO of dormakaba Group since 2011. 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 Kaba Group and Griesser Group. Furthermore, he was President of the Swiss Management Association (SMG) and member of the Board of the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce. 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.
Florencia Canelli (born in 1973 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.
Thierry Carrel (born in 1960) is Chairman of the Department for Cardiovascular Surgery at Inselspital in Bern and full professor at the University of Bern. 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 650 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 Morocco. In 2018 he was elected as International Councilor of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery. Thierry is married to Sabine Dahinden, a Swiss TV moderator and is father of a 25 yr-old daughter. He's a passionate bass trombone player and racing biker.
Eleni Chatzi (Greek, born 1981) is an Associate Professor and Chair of Structural Mechanics at ETH Zurich. She obtained her PhD in Engineering Mechanics form Columbia University in 2010. Eleni's research focuses on the exploitation of the Value of Information that comes from sensors deployed to monitor structures. Eleni leads an international team of researchers working on data-driven monitoring, automated condition assessment and intelligent decision support for engineered systems, with applications spanning across civil, mechanical and aerospace infrastructure. Her work in the domain was awarded an ERC Starting Grant in 2016 on the topic of "Smart Monitoring, Inspection and Life-Cycle Assessment of Wind Turbines". When not busy deciphering data, Eleni spends her time roaming the world.
Margarita Chli is an Assistant Professor in Vision for Robotics at ETH Zurich and head of V4RL. Originally from Greece and Cyprus, she received both her Bachelor and Master degrees in Information and Computing Engineering from Trinity College of the University of Cambridge, UK, and her PhD from Imperial College London. After a postdoctoral position at the Autonomous Systems Lab of ETH Zurich, she moved to the University of Edinburgh to accept the prestigious Chancellor’s Fellowship and initiate her own research group, the Vision for Robotics Lab (V4RL). In 2015, she relocated with her group to ETH Zurich to accept a Swiss National Science Foundation Assistant Professorship. Margarita received numerous academic scholarships from both Cyprus and Cambridge and she continues to hold an Honorary Fellowship from the University of Edinburgh. She is a World Economics Forum (WEF) Expert in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics and was a speaker at WEF 2017 in Davos. Her research interests lie in developing vision-based perception for robots, such as small aircraft. Margarita participated in the first vision-based autonomous flight of a small helicopter, and she features in Robohub’s 2016 list of 25 women in Robotics you need to know about. Besides her research career she has great passion for music and dance, as a classically trained violinist and dancer.
Philipp Cottier (born 1967) 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.
Tom Crowther is an Assistant Professor (Tenure Track) at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH), specialising in global ecosystem ecology. He leads the Crowther Lab, which aims to generate a mechanistic understanding of the ecological processes that drive the global carbon cycle and climate system. Through an ecologically-informed understanding of Earth system dynamics, Tom believes we can better understand and address global climate change. He is the lead scientific advisor to Plant-for-the-Planet (a youth led NGO) and the UN’s Trillion Tree Campaign. In addition to biodiversity, Tom also has a passion for rock climbing, football and chocolate milk.
Beat Curti is passionate entrepreneur who senses opportunities and turned 40 of them in wine, food, gastronomy and publishing into long-term businesses. Once consolidated he wants to put them into responsible hands. In 2002 he decided to concentrate on «lighter», fast growing and international businesses. Among many smaller companies he is founder and activ main shareholder of Goldbach Media Group, leader in bundling marketing of TV, radio, screens, smartphones and internet in DACH partnering with TA-Group in Switzerland. Furthermore Beat is co-founder and active partner in SoftwareOne, which was traditionally focusing on the procurement and management of software licences. In the last years, it has added overall management of software portfolios and cloud enabling services. It has over 3000 professionals in 84 active offices covering 120 countries. The companies in which Beat is shareholder/partner will generate roughly CHF 10 billions of profitable sales and have created 3000 promising jobs in the last ten years. Beat spends half of his time and income for social work (e.g., “Tischlein deck dich”; creation of spaces for mondern living and innovation), is a collector of contemporary art and systematically cultivates body and soul.
Raffaello D’Andrea is Professor of Dynamic Systems and Control at ETH Zurich, where his research redefines what autonomous systems are capable of. His TED talks, with millions of views, have inspired a generation to pursue engineering, robotics, and computer science. He is co-founder of Kiva Systems (acquired by Amazon in 2012, and now operating as Amazon Robotics), a robotics and logistics company that develops and deploys intelligent automated warehouse systems, with over 100,000 autonomous mobile robots deployed in Amazon warehouses alone. He was the faculty advisor and system architect of the Cornell Robot Soccer Team, four-time world champions at the international RoboCup competition. With his startup, Verity Studios, he recently created the flying machine design and choreography for Cirque du Soleil’s Paramour on Broadway, Metallica’s WorldWired tour, and the Knicks opening act at Madison Square Garden in New York. He is co-founder of ROBO Global, an index, advisory, and research company that launched the world’s first Robotics and AI exchange traded fund in 2013. In addition, he is a new media artist with exhibitions at various international venues, including the Venice Biennale, the FRAC Centre and the National Gallery of Canada. Other creations and projects include the Flying Machine Arena, the Distributed Flight Array, the Balancing Cube, Cubli, Flight Assembled Architecture, the Blind Juggler, the Robotic Chair and RoboEarth.
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. Hanne is the chairwoman of a-connect with 8 offices across the globe and headquartered in Zurich—a great city for driving a global talent and network-based company. In addition to a-connect, Hanne is a non-executive director of the Swedish industrial company AB Volvo, the global truck manufacturer, as well as Outotec in Finland, and a former board member of Sandvik in Sweden, and Telenor and Tomra in Norway, and Valora in Switzerland. She is also a member of the IMD Supervisory board. 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.
Brice-Olivier Demory (born 1980) 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.
Rolf Dobelli (born 1966) is an avid admirer of science. He is a novelist, non-fiction author, entrepreneur and founder of WORLD.MINDS. He is also co-founder of getAbstract, a leading business publisher. Rolf studied business and philosophy at University of St. Gallen, where he received his Ph.D. Personal note: He loves books and doesn’t consume news. Despite his news-diet, he is a regular contributor to Washington Post, Die ZEIT, NZZ, Handelsblatt and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. His books have been translated in 45 languages. He lives with his family in Bern.
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.
Christian Dorer is the Chief Editor of the BLICK Group. Prior to this, he was the Editor-In-Chief of the AZ (the Aargauer Zeitung: Die Nordwestschweiz ) which is the number three daily newspaper in Switzerland (mostly read in the triangle between Zurich, Bern and Basel). It is part of AZ Medien, which also produces the Sunday newspaper Schweiz am Sonntag , a TV group with TeleZüri, Tele M1 and TeleBärn, books and magazines. After studies at Ringier Journalist School, he wrote as business editor and correspondent at Swiss Parliament in Bern for Blick and SonntagsBlick . He was Deputy Editor-In-Chief at SonntagBlick 2007- 2009. As a co-author, he wrote the biography Der rote Boss – die Benedikt Weibel Story . He has been in his current position as Editor-In-Chief since 2009. He lives in Baden and his hobbies are travelling, reading and sports.
Reiner Eichenberger (*1961) is Professor for Economic and Financial Policy at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, where he has taught 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 such as the deregulation of the political process. He authored or co-authored three books and more than 130 academic articles. As he is convinced that economics is highly fruitful for solving societal problems, he often publishes in non-academic outlets and is engaged in various ways in public decision-making, e.g. as a Member of the Swiss Federal Communication Commission, the independent regulator of the Swiss telecom sector. In the ranking of NZZ/FAZ/Press of Swiss economists and their societal influence, he was ranked second in both 2016 and 2017. In 2016 he was awarded the STAB Prize (Stiftung für Abendländische Ethik und Kultur).
Marcel Erni is the co-founder of Partners Group. Prior to founding Partners Group, he worked at Goldman Sachs and McKinsey. He holds an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in finance and banking from the University of St. Gallen.
Claudio Feser (born 1963) is a Senior Partner of McKinsey & Company. Former managing partner of McKinsey Greece (1999–2004) and of McKinsey Switzerland (2005–2010), Claudio is a member of McKinsey & Company's Board, the Shareholder Council. He leads McKinsey Academy, a practice offering leadership development programs for firms and their executives. He joined McKinsey in 1992, was elected Partner in 1998, and Senior Partner in 2004. He holds a master’s in business administration and economics from the University of Bern, and an M.B.A. from INSEAD. Claudio is the author of the books “Serial Innovators: Firms that Change the World” and “When Execution is not Enough: Decoding Inspirational Leadership” both published by John Wiley & Sons in 2011 and 2016 respectively, and of several articles in the areas of leadership that have been published in publications such as Nature, Leaders to Leaders, Mint, and The McKinsey Quarterly. Claudio was one of the speakers at the 2009 Annual Symposium.
Daniela Finke is a Full Professor for Immunology at the University of Basel. She is amongst the pioneers on identifying immune cells that are essential for the development of secondary lymphoid organs during embryogenesis and the integrity of the gut immune system in adults. Trained as a pediatrician in Freiburg i.Br., Germany, she moved to the Ludwig Institute of Cancer Research in Epalinges, Switzerland, where she worked on tumor viruses and neonatal immunity. Between 2003 and 2009 she was an SNSF professor at the University of Basel followed by her appointment as Full professor and Head of Research at the University Children's Hospital of Basel in 2010. She developed several innovative and interdisciplinary programs for promoting junior talents and students. Amongst these programs is the "Science Month", where medical students learn to present and review research projects from all medical disciplines at a scientific conference. She has received prestigious prizes for her research and teaching and is member of several scientific boards. In addition to her dedication to research and knowledge dialogue, Daniela is also a passionate artist and musician.
Arent Foch (born 1960) worked in finance and strategic consultancy before starting his first company in 1994. He has helped build several businesses since. Until 2003, he was member of the management board of a German listed food company, whose turnover grew from €70 million in 1993 to some €2 billion in 2002. Arent has considerable experience in acquiring and selling equity stakes and now manages Foreman Capital, an Amsterdam-based PE fund fully owned and funded by its partners. He is particularly interested in devising future business plans, especially when in a position to achieve these plans step by step with the right people. Arent and his family live in the Zurich area. He holds various for-profit and not-for-profit board seats, including positions at the European Cultural Foundation, the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, and the Vereniging Rembrandt in the Netherlands.
André Frensch (born 1967) is the creative director of the editorial team of “WORLD.MINDS Magazine” and is the creative director at Ringier AG. He was significantly involved in the development of “Schweizer LandLiebe,” which is the most successful new launch of a print title in recent years, and serves as its editorial director.
Bruno S. Frey (born 1941 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 the visiting professor at the ETH Zurich. Bruno is the 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 subject of “happiness.”
Rainer-Marc Frey (born 1963) 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.
Pius Fritschi is a managing partner at LGT CP Ltd. and member of the executive management 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 (born 1966) leads, together with his cousin, Luc, the family-owned Frutiger AG, 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 (born 1967) 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 43 colleagues in Bern, Zurich, Geneva, 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 (born in 1971) is Member of the Group Management of Lindt & Sprüngli International AG based in Kilchberg (ZH). Alain’s responsibilities cover International Sales, Travel Retail and around 100 countries in Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Africa and Latin America. He was 30 when he took over his first role as CEO at Hiestand AG in Switzerland (now Aryzta). He then entered Nestlé before joining Lindt & Sprüngli in 2007 as CEO UK in London and CEO France in Paris as of 2009. Alain is a passionate sport car driver.
Carlo Giorgi is Managing Director of Hewlett Packard EnterpriseSwitzerland. In this role he bears the overall responsibility for thebusiness in Switzerland. In particular he is responsible for sales,P&L, Go-to-Market, customers, partners and employeesatisfaction, as well as for the long-term growth of the countrybusiness in all the RTMs, customer segments and business units:Servers, Storage, Networking and Technology Services. He isalso in charge of the strategic transformation of Hewlett PackardEnterprise in Switzerland to become an industry leading providerof IT solutions. Carlo holds a degree in Industrial Technology Engineering from the Politecnico di Milano (Italy) and conducted a postgraduate research at Ecole Nationale des Mines de Paris (France).
Philipp Gmür (born 1963) 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. Philipp is a member of the Board of Directors 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 (born 1947) 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.
Markus Gross is a Professor of Computer Science at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH), head of the Computer Graphics Laboratory, Vice President Global Research and Development and the director of Disney Research. He joined the ETH Computer Science faculty in 1994. His research interests include physically based modeling, computer animation, immersive displays, and video technology. Before joining Disney, Markus was director of the Institute of Computational Sciences at ETH. He received a master of science in electrical and computer engineering and a PhD in computer graphics and image analysis, both from Saarland University in Germany in 1986 and 1989. Markus serves on the boards of numerous international research institutes, societies, and governmental organizations. He received the Technical Achievement Award from EUROGRAPHICS in 2010 and the Swiss ICT Champions Award in 2011. He is a fellow of the ACM and of the EUROGRAPHICS Association and a member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina as well as the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. In 2013 he received a Technical Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Konrad Zuse Medal of GI and the Karl Heinz Beckurts price. He cofounded Cyfex AG, Novodex AG, LiberoVision AG, Dybuster AG, Gimalon AG, Kapanu AG, Perceptiko AG and Propulsion Academy AG.
Nicolas Gruber (born 1968 in Peru) is a professor of environmental physics at ETH Zurich and a co-author of the IPCC reports (which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007). 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 physical, chemical, and biological processes that control this fate, and to be able to make predictions for the future. 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.
Frank Gulich (born 1963) has been CEO of the holdings of the Stephan Schmidheiny family since 2002. As of June 2014, he is their chairman. The family interests include industrial activities, public, private equity, and real estate investments, and one of the leading post-war art collections. In addition, he is member of the VIVA trust, which was established by Stephan Schmidheiny with a donation of over USD1 billion. It owns the family’s former industrial activities in Latin America and funds the substantial philanthropic activities of Fundacion Avina on that continent. Further, Frank is a board member of DKSH and Ernst Göhner Stiftung Beteiligungen AG. Prior to his assignment with the Schmidheiny family, he was CEO of the Müller-Möhl Group where, together with Carolina Müller-Möhl, he restructured the family estate with its industrial and financial participations after the death of the late Ernst Müller-Möhl. He studied law at the University of Zurich, finished with a doctorate and holds an M.B.A. from INSEAD.
Peter Haag (born 1960) 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.
Cornelia Halin Winter is an associate professor at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences at ETH Zurich. Cornelia studied biochemistry and conducted her PhD at ETH Zurich, working in the field of antibody engineering and targeted tumor therapy. In 2002 she moved to Boston for a postdoc at Harvard Medical School in the field of immunology. In 2005 Cornelia returned to ETH Zurich where she obtained an assistant professorship in 2008. In 2014 she was promoted to associate professor and continues to perform research and teaching at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences of ETH. Cornelia’s research focuses on how leukocytes migrate through our body—in particular, how they enter and move into and within lymphatic vessels. An important goal of her research is to identify and validate new molecules, which could serve as therapeutic targets to modulate immune responses. Besides research, Cornelia enjoys spending time with her family (two kids), doing outdoor sports or going to the opera.
Dennis Hansen (born 1972) is a tropical ecologist and science communicator. He is project leader for the content development of the new Zurich Natural History Museum currently in planning, and heads the "Islands & interactions" research group at the University of Zurich. His research has taken him to islands around the world and focuses on ecological interactions, with a specific emphasis on how we can resurrect extinct ecologies. He co-founded an interdisciplinary, long-term research programme on the isolated Aldabra Atoll that has been running since 2011. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to 100,000 giant tortoises, the world's largest surviving population of these gentle giants, and is the last reptile-dominated ecosystem on Earth. To break out of his scientific shell, he currently collaborates with artists on several art-science projects around the world.
Henning Hartnacke is the President of Flavours EAME region at Givaudan. A global business builder focused on delivering outstanding results through translating strategic vision into actionable growth programmes, Henning has a strong passion for developing people and building a culture of performance and accountability. With over 20 years of experience in senior strategic leadership positions at multinational organisations, across multiple industries, and with high exposure to emerging markets, Henning has a great adaptability to cultures and people. Henning joined Givaudan in 1995 and has held various international and global commercial positions in the Fragrance Division before joining the Corporate Headquarter in Vernier, Switzerland, where he formed and built Givaudan’s Corporate Strategy function. He joined the Flavour Division in September 2013. Henning and his wife live near Zurich, Switzerland. In his free time he enjoys to exercise, walk the family dog, and drive through the magic curves of Alpine Passes.
Ravit Helled is an Associate Professor for Theoretical Astrophysics, at the Center for Theoretical Astrophysics & Cosmology, Institute for Computational Science, University of Zurich. She is a leading figure in astrophysics and planetary sciences. Ravit's scientific work concentrates on planet formation & evolution, planetary interiors, and extrasolar planets. She received her PhD in 2008 from Tel-Aviv University, then she spent four years at UCLA as a postdoctoral scholar and senior researcher. Before moving to UZH she was an Associate Professor at Tel-Aviv University. Ravit is involved in space exploration and is a science team-member and Co-investigator of various ESA and NASA space missions. She has published over 50 scientific papers, and is a frequent invited speaker in international conferences. Ravit is married and a mother for two children. In her free time she enjoys reading, meeting friends, and yoga.
Kevin Heng (born 1978) 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 a theoretical astrophysicist by training, who is interested in the climates and habitability of exoplanets (planets found beyond our Solar System). He serves on the core science team of the Swiss-led CHEOPS mission of ESA, which aims to detect Earth-like exoplanets around bright, nearby stars. He is an international member of the Science and Technology Definition Team (STDT) of the LUVOIR mission concept study, which is poised to be the next flagship telescope of NASA aiming to detect biosignatures from exoplanets. 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.
Carsten Henkel (born 1963) is both a private equity entrepreneur investing in mid-cap companies and start-ups and a senior advisor to the corporate world. Carsten is a founder and CEO of Skyadvisory, an innovative strategy boutique advising global clients on corporate and competitive strategy, marketing and sales as well as organizational development. He has worked for A.T. Kearney, The Boston Consulting Group and has built the Swiss presences of The Monitor Group as well as Roland Berger Strategy Consultants. One of his passions is teaching strategy and finance to master’s students at the University of St. Gallen and publishing regularly on strategy and leadership topics. He studied in Hamburg, New York, and St. Gallen and holds a Ph.D. in business administration. He was trained as a banker at Deutsche Bank and as a reconnaissance officer at the German Army. His most important projects are the ones with his family, especially the ones with his eight-year-old son.
Markus Hongler (born 1957) has been CEO of La Mobilière since 2011, the oldest private insurer in the country, which today has 2 million customers and 5,000 employees. La Mobilière is a leading provider of insurance services in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Before joining the company, Markus served in various management positions for the Zurich Insurance Group, among others as CEO of Zurich Switzerland and Zurich Insurance Plc, Dublin. Markus is a passionate world traveller and active in cultural activities in Switzerland.
Auke Ijspeert is a full professor at the EPFL (the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at Lausanne) and head of the Biorobotics Laboratory (BioRob). He has a B.Sc./M.Sc. in physics from the EPFL (1995), and a Ph.D. in artificial intelligence from the University of Edinburgh (1999). He carried out postdocs at IDSIA and EPFL, and at the University of Southern California (USC). He then became a research assistant professor at USC, and an external collaborator at ATR (Advanced Telecommunications Research institute) in Japan. In 2002, he came back to the EPFL as an SNF assistant professor. He was promoted to associate professor in October 2009 and to full professor in April 2016. His primary affiliation is with the Institute of Bioengineering and secondary affiliation with the Institute of Mechanical Engineering. His research interests are at the intersection between robotics, computational neuroscience, nonlinear dynamical systems, and applied machine learning. He is interested in using numerical simulations and robots to get a better understanding of animal locomotion and movement control, and in using inspiration from biology to design novel types of robots and locomotion controllers. He is regularly invited to give talks on these topics. With his colleagues, he has received paper awards at ICRA2002, CLAWAR2005, IEEE Humanoids 2007, IEEE ROMAN 2014, and CLAWAR 2015. He was an associate editor for the IEEE Transactions on Robotics (2009–2013), and is since July 2015 member of the board of reviewing editors of “Science” magazine. He has acted as guest editor for the Proceedings of IEEE, IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, Autonomous Robots, and Biological Cybernetics. He is/was the technical program chair of 5 international conferences (BioADIT2004, SAB2004, AMAM2005, BioADIT2006, LATSIS2006), and has been a program committee member of over 50 conferences.
Christian H. Kälin is Chairman of Henley & Partners. Christian is considered one of the world’s foremost experts in investor immigration and citizenship by investment, a field he pioneered. Holding master’s and PhD degrees in law from the University of Zurich, he is a sought-after speaker and advises governments and international organizations. He is the author, co-author or editor of many publications, including standard works such as the Global Residence and Citizenship Handbook, the Quality of Nationality Index, and the Switzerland Business & Investment Handbook. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Global Citizenship Review, an international quarterly.
Mika Kastenholz (born 1976 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 is a partner in the financial services consultancy firm Move Digital AG.
Adrian T. Keller (born 1951) has been a member of the Board of Directors of DKSH Holding Ltd. since its formation and Chairman of the Board from 2003 till 2017. Since 2000, he has been Vice Chairman of Diethelm Keller Holding Ltd., a family holding company and anchor shareholder of DKSH. During his earlier career, Adrian worked on Wall Street, where he first was employed at Brown Brothers Harriman & Co., later he became a partner at the NASD registered investment advisor Hoguet, Keller, Wittmann & Co. and thereafter joined Global Reach, a private equity and investment firm. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Berenberg Bank (Switzerland) Ltd. and several other privately held companies. Pro bono, Adrian serves on the Board of the Tonhalle-Gesellschaft Zurich (Symphonic Orchestra) as well as on the executive committee of the Swiss Advisory Council of the American Swiss Foundation. He is Chairman of Asia Society Switzerland and a Global Trustee of the Asia Society. He also serves on the Advisory Board of the University of St. Gallen, his alma mater. He is strongly committed to supporting children’s education and development through active engagement in several foundations.
Ursula Keller is a tenured professor of physics at ETH since 1993. She leads the Ultrafast Laser Physics group and currently also serves as a director of the Swiss multi-institute NCCR MUST program in ultrafast science since 2010. Born in Zug, she received a masters at ETH Zurich in 1984, a Ph.D. at Stanford University in 1989, and was a member of Technical Staff at Bell Labs U.S.A. from 1989 to 1993. She invented a key new photonic device in 1992 the semiconductor saturable absorber mirror (SESAM) which solved a 25-year-old problem and allowed for a simple, robust, and cost-effective method to generate ultrashort (picosecond to femtosecond) and ultrastable laser pulses. She also helped to spearhead industrial transfer of this technology over the last two decades; most commercial ultrashort lasers today are based on this technology, with important industrial applications ranging from optical communication, precision measurements, microscopy, ophthalmology, and micromachining. In addition, her cutting edge laser technology has enabled some of the world’s most accurate clocks the optical clock and the attoclock. For example, she developed and demonstrated the attoclock to measure the electron tunneling time for the first time in 2008, which has been a highly debated topic in theoretical physics for the last 60 years. Active in Swiss start-up companies, she co-founded and serves as a board member for Time-Bandwidth Products since 1995, and for GigaTera from 2000 to 2003, a VC-funded Swiss telecom company of the bubble phase,which was acquired by Time-Bandwidth in 2003 and which then was acquired by JDSU (now Lumentum) Jan. 2014. She is also a working mother with two grown up boys, and founded the ETH Women Professor Forum (WPF). In 2018, for her work on ultrafast lasers, Ursula became a Lifetime Achievement recipient of the annual Inventor Award, given annually by the European Patent Office to people whose ideas and creativity have significantly advanced the development of innovative products.
Georges Kern (born 1965) is an executive at Richemont International SA and is the former CEO of IWC Schaffhausen. He studied political science in Strasbourg, France, and obtained a degree in business administration from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. Georges acquired experience in the FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) sector as a brand manager with Kraft Foods Switzerland before gaining a foothold in the watch industry at TAG Heuer (LVMH Group). He joined the Richemont Group, the Swiss luxury goods corporation, in 2000. Following that group’s acquisition of A. Lange & Söhne, Jaeger-LeCoultre and IWC, he was active in the integration of these three brands. When Georges joined IWC Schaffhausen early in 2002 at the age of 36, he became the youngest CEO within Richemont. Alongside his corporate objectives, he is also committed to charitable causes, for example, through his position on the board of trustees of the Laureus Foundation, which helps young people overcome their social problems through sport. In 2005, he was appointed a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum. Georges is a patron of the Foundation Antoine de Saint-Exupéry pour la Jeunesse, which supports disadvantaged young people on their path to adulthood. Georges counts active climate protection among his corporate responsibilities. Upon his initiative, IWC was certified as a carbon-neutral company. As a representative of the watch industry and the CEO of a brand founded by an American, Georges sits on the board of the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce. Since July 2009, Georges was, next to IWC, also heading Baume et Mercier (Richemont International SA). He was one of the speakers at the 2012 Annual Symposium.
Daniel Kessler (born in 1977) is the Managing Partner of The Boston Consulting Group Switzerland and responsible for the company's business in Switzerland. As global topic leader for wealth management he is the main author of the internationally recognized BCG Global Wealth Report and a core member of BCG’s Financial Institutions practice. 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, focusing on topics across the entire value chain; he has led several complex transformation projects as well as large scale post-merger integrations. He has also supported financial institutions in their digital transformation journeys. Daniel studied business administration at the University of St. Gallen (HSG) in Switzerland.
Eva Kienle is member of the KWS Executive Board and, as CFO, leads the areas of Finance, Controlling, IT, Legal & IP, HR and Global Shared Services and drives KWS's digital agenda. KWS has been breeding field crops for more than 160 years and is now one of the world's leading seed producers of sugarbeet, corn and cereals. (in fiscal year 2016/17, the KWS Group generated net sales of over €1 Billion). It has around 5.000 employees and a footprint touching more than 70 countries. Eva's earlier management positions within Global Corporates (Unilever, Wal-Mart) as well as with PE-backed small and mid-sized operations allowed her to develop a longtime expertise in running administrative business processes and to become an expert in strategic alignment of back-office operations to serve as a business partner. Eva started off with a banking degree, then went further for a German-French B.Sc. in international management and completed a Global EMBA program with TRIUM (LSE, NYU, and HEC) in 2014. She is very passionate about her family of three boys and—if time allows—for some relaxing rounds of golf.
Andreas R. Kirchschläger is CEO of the elea Foundation for Ethics in Globalization, 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 the HSG Foundation, GCA Altium AG, PG Impact Investments AG and some of elea Foundation’s portfolio companies. 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 has been the Chief Financial Officer and Member of the Management Board of Vonovia SE since January 1, 2011. Vonovia SE provides real estate services. The company manages, leases, and sells apartments and offers residential real estate to customers throughout Germany. 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. When not traveling, Stefan enjoys the quietness and beauty at his home at the North Sea.
Stephan Klapproth was the presenter for the news magazine “10 vor 10” on Swiss TV from 1993 to 2015. Starting in 2015, he has co-hosted Swiss TV’s philosophical talk “Sternstunde Philosophie.” Stephan has regularly broadcasted from foreign locations on special assignments and as a reporter. Before moving to TV, Stephan was editor-in-chief on “Echo der Zeit,” the political magazine program on Swiss radio station SRF, and he also presented the program from 1986 to 1992. He studied political science, economics, and contemporary history in Geneva. He holds the accolade of having won the “Swiss TV Award” as the country’s most popular news presenter. He teaches television journalism at the Universities of Geneva and Neuchâtel. He is also in demand as a speaker and conducts economic symposia as well as political debates. Stephan's private pilot licence is presently on hold due to lack of time. But there is a good chance to see him in his kayak cruising along the shores of lake Zurich or of some far away ocean.
Vladimir Kuznetsov is the CEO of Kodori AG, Switzerland. He has over 20 years of experience in M&A and financial consulting and at different times occupied positions of Strategy Director and Chief Investment Director of 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 an represented Renova Group at a number of other company boards as a non-executive Director. Prior to joining Renova Group in 2001, he was CEO of Financial Advisory Services LLC, an advisory firm. 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 (born 1968), attorney at law, acts as professional board member in companies with an aggregate turnover of EUR 5bn and as business angel. He started his legal career at the law firm Homburger in Zurich before becoming the youngest partner at one of Switzerland’s leading law firms Meyerlustenberger Lachenal AG where he specialized in private equity and M&A transactions. He became counsel to the law firm in 2009 in order to devote more time to his board, investment and networking activities. From 2000 to 2004, he also lectured on corporate law and contract law at the University of St. Gallen (Switzerland), from where he holds a Ph.D. (Dr. iur.). Thomas is passionate about creating communities and connecting people. He founded or co-founded the Entrepreneurs' Roundtable (with chapters in Switzerland, Germany, France and The Netherlands), the Club zum Rennweg in Zurich, the Griffith Club and the WORLD.MINDS Foundation. As a member of the board of trustees of the Swiss Technion Society and of African Parks Foundation Switzerland, he is also engaged in nonprofit initiatives. Switzerland's leading business publication "Bilanz" has nominated him several times as one of the most influential business lawyers in Switzerland. He lives in Zurich and works in Zug.
Axel P. Lehmann was appointed President Personal & Corporate Banking of UBS Group AG and President UBS Switzerland as of January 2018, in addition to taking over as President of the Executive Board of UBS Switzerland AG. He became a member of the GEB and was appointed Group Chief Operating Officer of UBS Group AG and UBS AG in January 2016. He was a member of the BoD of UBS AG from 2009 to 2015 and of UBS Group AG from 2014 to 2015 and was a member of both the Risk Committee and the Governance and Nominating Committee. Axel became a member of Zurich Insurance Group’s (Zurich) Group Executive Committee in 2002, holding various management positions, including CEO for the European and North America businesses, as well as Group Chief Risk Officer with additional responsibilities for Group IT, Regional Chairman for Europe, Middle East and Africa and Chairman for Farmers Group Inc. In 2001, he was appointed CEO for Northern, Central and Eastern Europe and Zurich Group Germany, having served as a member of the company’s Group Management Board since 2000 with responsibility for group-wide business development functions. In 1996, he joined Zurich as a member of the Executive Committee Switzerland and previously, he was head of corporate planning and controlling at SwissLife, Vice President of the Institute of Insurance Economics and a visiting professor at Bocconi University in Milan. Axel holds a PhD and a master’s degree in business administration and economics from the University of St. Gallen. He is also a graduate of the Advanced Management Program of the Wharton School.
Remo Lütolf (born 1956) has been the country managing director of ABB Switzerland from 2013 to mid-2018. He now is engaged as a board member and chairman in a number of Swiss companies, including RUAG Holding AG. He studied electrical engineering at the ETH Zurich and graduated 1986 with a doctorate in biomedical engineering and also got the EMBA from IMD in Lausanne in 2000. He started his professional career at Landis & Gyr in Zug and moved to ABB Switzerland in 1999. He lead the global business unit Power Electronics & Medium Voltage Drives and also was a regional division manager for ABB China living in Shanghai for four years.
Isabelle Mansuy is professor in neuroepigenetics at the Medical Faculty of the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich (double chair). She obtained a Ph.D. in developmental neurobiology at the University Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg, then trained as a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Eric Kandel at the Center for Learning and Memory at Columbia University in New York. She has been running 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 transgenerational epigenetic inheritance. It discovered that traumatic experiences in early postnatal life can lead to behavioral symptoms like depression, social withdrawal, risk-taking and poor memory, as well as metabolic dysfunctions across several generations, and that the inheritance of the symptoms depends on epigenetic mechanisms in the germline. These findings in experimental animals are very important for biology because they provide evidence that early life experiences can leave traces across generations through epigenetic mechanisms. They are also essential for the clinic and will help the development of future diagnostic and therapeutic treatments against trauma-related psychiatric disorders. Isabelle co-authored many research articles, reviews and book chapters in neurosciences, is member of the Swiss Academy of Medical Science, the European Academy of Science, the Research Council of the Swiss National Foundation, the European Molecular Biology Organization, is Knight in the National Order of Merit and holds the Legion of Honour in France.
Jean-François Manzoni is Nestlé Professor and President (Dean) at IMD. His main areas of focus are leadership, the development of high performance organizations and corporate governance. He has received several awards for excellence in teaching as well as for his research and case writing activities, including for his seminal book “The set-up-to-fail syndrome: How good managers cause great people to fail” (with Jean-Louis Barsoux). A citizen of Canada and France, Professor Manzoni holds a Doctorate from Harvard Business School and an MBA from McGill University. He was Professor for seven years at IMD (2004-2010) before coming back to the school in 2016. He previously served on the faculty of INSEAD, in Singapore and in Fontainebleau.
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 Mathys (born in 1979)is Assistant Professor (Tenure Track) of Sustainable Food Processing at the ETH Zurich since 2015, 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 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.
Ueli Maurer (born in 1960) 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. Most recently, Ueli received the 2016 RSA Award for Excellence in the Field of Mathematics and the 2016 Theory of Cryptography (TCC) test-of-time award.
Armin Meier is the owner of Boyden Switzerland, a leading executive search company. Prior to this, he held several management positions in information technology as well as travel and transportation such as chief commercial officer of Travelport, a global distribution system for the travel business in London; Group CEO of Kuoni, the largest global upmarket tour operator, listed on the Zurich stock exchange and member of the Executive Committee of Migros, the leading retail company in Switzerland, with responsibility for IT and logistics. He is invested in several tech companies in the travel sector and serves as member on non-executive boards.
Urs Meile (born 1954, in Lucerne) has been working in the international art market as a dealer and consultant since the mid-eighties. In 1992, he founded the Galerie Urs Meile in Lucerne. As one of the very first Western galleries, he has since 1995 established a major international reputation for his engagement in emerging Chinese contemporary art. Urs represents distinguished and established artists such as Ai Weiwei, Wim Delvoye (in Asia), Xie Nanxing, Qiu Shihua, Anatoly Shuravlev, Not Vital, and Wang Xingwei, but also emerging artists such as Cheng Ran, Li Gang, Christian Schoeler, Julia Steiner, and Yan Xing. In addition to the Lucerne space, in 2005, Urs inaugurated the gallery’s new Beijing premises designed by Ai Weiwei in the Caochangdi art district. The contemporary architecture reflects traditional Chinese dwellings. Five buildings host four exhibition spaces and a studio for artists-in-residence. Gallery Urs Meile Beijing has become an international meeting point for collectors, artists, and art lovers.
Marija Mitrović Dankulov is Associate Research Professor and the Head of Innovation Center at Institute of Physics Belgrade. She completed her Ph.D. in statistical physics at the Faculty of Physics, University of Belgrade in 2012. After her Ph.D. studies at the Department of Theoretical Physics, Institute Jožef Stefan, Slovenia, she undertook postdoctoral work at Department of Biomedical Engineering and Computational Science, School of Science Aalto University, Finland. She has extensive knowledge and experience in theoretical and computational physics. Her primary research interest is statistical physics of complex systems, with the emphasis on physics of social behavior and complex networks theory. As a Head of Innovation Center she is involved in technology development and commercialisation, IP protection and managament.
Ben Moore (born 1966 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 computational cosmology group at the Institute for Theoretical Physics, 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 10 years, where he enjoys mountaineering and snowboarding as well as playing guitar with the electro-rock band Milk67. In 2012, he published the popular book “Elefanten im All,” which describes the history and future of life and the universe. Ben was a speaker at the 2008 Annual Symposium and 2014 Annual Symposium.
Beatrix Morath is managing director and country head of AlixPartners Switzerland, 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. Since 1997, she worked with Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, where she successfully managed the Switzerland operations for several years before moving to AlixPartners in 2014. She works for clients in a broad range of industries. Besides, she is on several supervisory and advisory boards (Lienhard Office Group, Economics Department of the University of Zurich and Global Dignity). Beatrix is married and has two children.
Lukas Morscher (born 1963) is partner and head of TMT at the law firm Lenz & Staehelin in Zurich. Practice areas include technology, digitization, industry 4.0, data privacy, fintech, blockchain, sourcing (ITO, BPO), corporate governance, M&A and stock exchange law. Lukas holds a master’s 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.
Michael Mueller (born 1972) is CEO of Valora Group, a Swiss listed retail company with focus on small-format retail, food service and trading activities with operating businesses in eight European countries. Michael joined Valora in 2012 as the Group’s CFO and became CEO in 2014. Before Valora, Michael created in 2007 for an investment group privately held by Georg von Opel an independent asset manager, active as a principal investor in private and public equities, and joined Jelmoli Holding, a Swiss listed retail and real estate conglomerate, initially as a member of the board of directors and the executive committee and, from 2008, as CEO, and delegate of the board of directors. Before Michael’s executive and principal roles, he was active as a management consultant and M&A advisor. After graduation, he joined Bain & Company, where he worked for industrial and private equity clients on strategic transformation and restructuring programs in a number of industry sectors in Europe and the United States. After Bain, he joined the investment banking division of Goldman Sachs in Frankfurt, in its M&A practice. Michael studied business law at the universities of St. Gallen, completing his studies with a master’s degree in law (lic. iur. HSG) from the University of St. Gallen.
Carolina Müller-Möhl is a Swiss investor and philanthropist. Since 2000, she has managed and presided over the Müller-Möhl Group, a Single Family Office. She was a board member of Nestlé (2004–2012), and currently sits on the boards of “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” (“NZZ”) and Orascom Development Group Holding. Carolina is highly committed to address socio-political causes and brings her efforts under the Müller-Möhl Foundation, which focuses on education, gender diversity and the attractiveness of Switzerland as a business and foundation location. She sits on various foundation and advisory boards—among them the Department of Economics at the University of Zurich, the Pestalozzi Foundation, the Swiss Economic Forum, and the renowned think tank Avenir Suisse—and is a supporter of The Gender Equality Project. Carolina studied Politics, History, and Law at Ruprecht-Karls University Heidelberg, the London School of Economics, and at the Otto Suhr Institute at Freie Universität Berlin, where she graduated as Political Scientist. She also attended various trainings at the Europainstitut at the University of Basel. In recognition of her success and her philanthropic commitment, the World Economic Forum (WEF) nominated her as a Young Global Leader in 2007.
Martin Naville (born 1959) is CEO of the Swiss–American Chamber of Commerce (Amcham) since 2004. Amcham is one of the leading private associations working for international companies to build macro-economic bridges between Switzerland and the U.S.A., as well as to improve the business location Switzerland for multinational companies—large and small, Swiss and foreign. Before joining Amcham, Martin spent 16 years at the Boston Consulting Group in Munich, Zurich and New York specializing in Wealth Management and Telecom. He was elected partner and director in 1995. Martin started his professional career at JP Morgan in Zurich and New York from 1984 to 1988. Martin is chairman of the Zurich Zoo, board member of Swissquote, the leading Swiss eBank, Chairman of Komitee Weltoffenes Zürich and Senior Advisor at Morgan Stanley (Switzerland). He enjoys sports (skiing, tennis, mountaineering), and traveling for fun. He is married and has two sons.
Brad Nelson has been the Professor of Robotics and Intelligent Systems at ETH Zurich since 2002. He has over thirty years of experience in the field of robotics and has received a number of awards for his work in robotics, nanotechnology, and biomedicine, including a Guinness Book World Record for the "Most Advanced Mini Robot for Medical Use." He serves on the advisory boards of a number of academic departments and research institutes across North America, Europe, and Asia and is on the editorial boards of several academic journals. Brad has been the Department Head of Mechanical and Process Engineering at ETH, Chairman of the ETH Electron Microscopy Center, and a member of the Research Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation. He is also a member of the board of directors of three Swiss companies. Before moving to Europe, he worked as an engineer at Honeywell and Motorola and served as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Botswana, Africa. He has also been a professor at the University of Minnesota and the University of Illinois in Chicago.
Ashkan Nikeghbali is a French (of Iranian origin) professor of mathematics at the University of Zurich in the Faculty of Science and has chair in financial mathematics in the Faculty of Economics. His research interests in pure maths lie at the intersection of probability theory, number theory and mathematical physics through the study of large random matrices. He is particularly interested in the distribution of the values of the Riemann zeta function. His research in quantitative finance deals with the applications graphs and distributional approximations in finance (systemic risk, credit risk models, etc.). He is also a member of the scientific board of Swissquant. Ashkan was one of the speakers at the 2012 Annual Symposium.
Ludo Ooms (born in 1959) is managing director of Janssen Switzerland & Austria. Janssen constitutes the pharmaceutical business of Johnson & Johnson and focuses on providing solutions for unmet medical needs in the oncology, infectiology, immunology, central nervous system, cardiovascular and metabolic therapeutic areas. In his previous roles (CFO for Janssen Europe and Middle East, Licensing and Acquisitions), he contributed to building partnerships for advancing innovation. Ludo has worked in Europe and the U.S.A.
Margit Osterloh is a professor (em.) in business administration and management of technology and innovation at the University of Zurich and a Permanent Visiting Professor at the University Basel. She is also a research director of CREMA (Center for Research in Economics, Management, and the Arts) Zurich. She graduated at the University of Technology in Berlin and did her Ph.D. at the Freie Universität Berlin. She was a board member of three large companies in Switzerland and Germany, and a member of Deutscher Wissenschaftsrat (German Council for Science and Humanities). She is member of several advisory boards of German universities. In 2007, she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Lüneburg. Her research interests are happiness research, knowledge management, corporate governance, research governance, and gender issues.
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. Personal note from Rolf Dobelli: Greta is a true Renaissance person â€” not only has she been spending her youth with science and music, but she has also digested the world's classic and modern literature from Plato to Proust. Greta was one of the speakers at the 2009 Annual Symposium as well as at the 2016 Annual Symposium.
Mark Pauly (born 1974 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 computer graphics, geometric computing, 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 he is a trustee of the Heerema Group, a leading international player in the offshore oil and gas construction industry.
Frederike Petzschner is a young neuroscientist & physicist at the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich. Frederike's focus is 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 WEF Global Shaper and enjoys to climb, ski and be outdoors.
Ulrike Pfreundt (born 1985) is a German oceanographer, geneticist, and curious thinker. Currently working at ETH Zürich as a Postdoctoral Researcher, her award-winning work transcends the boundaries of her field. She has studied phytoplankton in zero gravity, and the behavior of bacteria that fertilize half of the world’s ocean. For her most recent project, driven by her passion for the ocean and the urgency that climate change dictates, she assembled a team of digital architects and conservation practitioners to create innovative ways to re-build coral reefs at scale. The team will use 3D printing to find surface structures that allow young corals to settle and form the foundation of a new reef. Ulrike is alumna of Silicon Valley’s Singularity University, where she took a deep dive into future technologies with their risks and promises, grand global challenges, and team and empathy building. She uses her knowledge of exponential trends to understand how these may be combined and utilized to solve the most pressing problems of the complex hyper-connected system that our world is today.
Marc Pollefeys (born in 1971 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.
Stefan Portmann (born 1967) 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.
Aparna Rao is part of the art duo Pors & Rao, based in Bangalore, India. Pors & Rao make sculptures and installations often incorporating life like animatronics and responsive behaviours. For the past 16 years, she and her collaborator, Søren Pors, have developed their own simulation tools and motion interfaces, collaborating with Indian roboticist and various Swiss institutions to realise personal emotive expressions through robotics. This has led to her recent project, "PATHOS: Poetic Animatronics Through Hands-on Open Systems", which has been developed at Wyss Zurich (nested within ETH Zurich), and which is a set of tools developed to craft a high degree of nuance in robotic animation. Aparna was a speaker at the 2015 Annual Symposium.
Max Rheiner (born 1972) 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.
Urs Riedener (born 1965) is CEO of the leading Swiss dairy company, Emmi. Before joining Emmi, he was a member of the executive board of Migros and head of its marketing department, managing Switzerland’s single largest marketing budget. He previously worked for Lindt & Sprüngli, where he successfully expanded the brand position both nationally and internationally through premium products. Urs holds a degree in business administration and marketing from the University of St. Gallen. Urs is a passionate cyclist, cross-country skier, and runner, and loves sports in general.
Frank Rieger (born 1971) 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.
Lia Sartori (born in 1990) is a PhD student in astrophysics at the Institute for Particle Physics and Astrophysics at ETH Zürich and at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Her research focuses on how the activity of supermassive black holes changes with time, and how these objects interact with their host galaxies. She recently won the prestigious MERAC Funding and Travel Award, which allows her to collaborate with astronomers all over the world. Beside research, she is strongly involved in outreach, science communication and science promotion, especially with young people and children. She also collaborates with the Schweizer Jugend Forscht (Swiss Youth in Science) Foundation where she is responsible and project manager for the Italian Switzerland.
Thomas Schmidheiny (born 1945) is chairman and founder of his family office, Spectrum Value Management. Spectrum manages the investments of the Schmidheiny family. After studying mechanical engineering at ETH Zurich, Thomas began his career as technical director with Cementos Apasco, Mexico. In 1973, he joined “Holderbank” Financière Glaris Ltd. (which became Holcim), where he served as managing director and chairman (1978–2001) and chairman of the board (1984–2003). In 2015, Holcim merged with Lafarge to become LafargeHolcim, where Thomas is the Honorary Chairman. He is a principal stockholder of Holcim. Thomas is also a board member and major shareholder of the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz and chairman of the Ernst Schmidheiny Foundation for public education, amongst others. He received an honorary doctorate of business administration from Tufts University (U.S.A.) and holds an M.B.A. from IMD. His particular interest is philanthropy: he engages in large donations and sponsoring to business schools, arts, education, and start-ups through his foundations.
Daniel Schmutz (born 1966 in Zurich) is the CEO of Helsana Versicherungen AG since 2010. With a premium volume of CHF 6.4 billion, Helsana is the market leader in Swiss Health insurance. Daniel holds an M.A. in international relations from St. Gallen University and an M.B.A. in finance from the Wharton School. He started out his career in management consulting in Germany, the U.S., and Spain before returning to Switzerland, where he joined the Boston Consulting Group’s insurance practice. From 2002 to 2005, he worked at Swiss Life before joining Helsana in 2006 as CFO. Daniel feels that health care is a fascinating topic, at the crossroads of business, politics, and society. When he is not thinking about health care, Daniel loves to take his Mexican wife and his two sons to the Alps.
Joachim Schoss (born 1963) is a serial entrepreneur and investor and, as such, the founder of Scout24, one of Europes most successful online businesses, the founder of the charitable foundation MyHandicap, the most frequented European service for people with disabilities, as well as an angel investor of Moneybookers, ResearchGate and several other innovative companies. He serves on the boards of several start-ups and other institutions and foundations, mostly as president. Among other honors, he was named „Business Angel of the Year" and one of the „Founders of the Decade". Besides his own entrepreneurial activities, he is committed to support and educate young entrepreneurs. Joachim spends several weeks of the European winter in New Zealand. He is happily married to Stephanie and a proud father of five children.
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.
Dirk Schütz (born 1964) 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.”
Urs Schwarzenbach (born in 1948) is a Swiss financier who, among other properties around the world, is a major shareholder of the Dolder Grand Hotel in Zurich. After working in the Foreign Exchange Department of UBS for 5 years in Zurich, and following a stint in London, Urs returned to Zurich to set up a family office to look after his own affairs in the 1970’s. He has since acquired a substantial farming interest in Australia, his wife’s native home, a base in England near Henley-on-Thames, a shooting estate in Scotland, and holiday homes in Morocco, St Moritz and the South of France, and various assets in the aviation and nautical fields. He also has his own polo team, the Black Bears, which was rated among the top teams in the world, with horses in Australia and in the UK.
Markus Seiler is secretary general of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, is a native of Ermatingen in the canton of Thurgau. He is 49 years old and is married with four children. 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 head of the Federal Intelligence Service.
Karin Seiz (born in Switzerland) is the Co-Director at the Galerie Urs Meile. Karin graduated in 2005 in Art History, Linguistics and Media Sciences. Parallel to her studies, she was in charge of the Lucerne city art collection and was a member of the acquisition committee. At the same time, she was part of the editorial of the "Kulturmagazin Luzern" (cultural magazine of Central Switzerland) for which she was contributing articles on contemporary art and architecture. In 2006, she joined Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing – Lucerne and in 2009 she became Artistic Director. Since 2011, she has been a member of the Lucerne City and Canton Board for work grants. And since 2016 she is board member of the Kunstgesellschaft Lucerne. At Galerie Urs Meile, Karin Seiz is involved with programing and closely collaborating with some of the most important artists of the gallery, such as Ai Weiwei, but also with young artists from China and Europe.
Daniel Sennheiser (born in 1973) is the CEO of Sennheiser electronic. He leads the family-owned company in the third generation jointly with his brother Andreas. They share a vision to shape the future of audio – always creating new and captivating sound experiences for both professionals and consumers. 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.
Kristina Shea is Professor for Engineering Design and Computing in Mechanical and Processing Engineering at ETH Zurich, where she has been working since 2012. Her research develops cutting-edge computational models, methods and tools that enable the engineering design of more innovative and optimized engineered systems and products. Currently her research group focuses on creating novel designs and methods for 3D and 4D printing. She received all of her degrees through to the PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University (US). She has held academic positions at EPFL, University of Cambridge (UK) and TU München (Germany) and worked as a Senior Engineer at Arup (London, UK). She has published numerous influential scientific publications and is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). She is also a passionate skier and loves being in the mountains.
Beat Siegrist (born 1960) is chairman of Schweiter Technologies. 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 an M.B.A. at INSEAD Fontainebleau. He also serves on the board of various industrial companies quoted on the Swiss stock exchange.
Roland Siegwart (born 1959) is a professor for autonomous systems and co-director of the Wyss Zurich at ETH Zurich. After studying mechanics and mechatronics he was engaged in starting up a spin-off company, spent ten years as professor for autonomous microsystems at EPFL, and held visiting positions at Stanford University and NASA Ames and was Vice President of ETH Zurich. Roland is member of the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences, IEEE fellow and officer of the International Federation of Robotics Research (IFRR). His interests are in the creation and control of intelligent systems operating in complex and highly dynamical environments. Prominent application examples are personal and service robots, autonomous micro-aircrafts and walking robots. Roland is co-founder of multiple successful spin-off companies in robotics and related fields.
Uwe Sommer (born 1955) is the CEO of Theo Müller Gruppe, a € 7 billion producer of dairy products. Prior to this, he was a member of the Group Management of Lindt & Sprüngli, a USD3 billion chocolate group, where he is 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.
Olga Sorkine-Hornung (born in Russia) is a full professor of computer science at ETH Zurich, where she leads the Interactive Geometry Lab and is the head of the Institute of Visual Computing. Prior to joining ETH, she was an assistant professor at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University (2008–2011). Olga works in the field of computer graphics and is interested in theoretical foundations and practical algorithms for digital content creation tasks, such as 3-D shape representation, 3-D modeling techniques, digital fabrication and image processing. Companies such as Microsoft, Facebook, Adobe, Disney and Phonak use the work of her lab. She earned her B.Sc. in mathematics and computer science and Ph.D. in computer science from Tel Aviv University (2000, 2006) and held a postdoc at the Technical University of Berlin (2006–2008), funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellowship. Olga won numerous awards, including the ERC Starting Grant (1.5 million Euro) which allowed her to pursue a research project on intelligent 3-D modeling. The goal of the project is the development of mathematics and computer tools for digital shape modeling that would significantly simplify the work of professionals and be accessible to the general public as well. In 2017, she was the recipient of the Rössler Prize for her work in the field of computer graphics.
Nicola Spaldin is the professor of materials theory at ETH Zurich. She developed the class of materials known as multiferroics, which combine simultaneous ferromagnetism and ferroelectricity, for which she received the 2017 L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science award among many other honors. She is a passionate science educator, director of her department’s study program, and holder of the ETH Golden Owl Award for excellence in teaching. When not trying to make a room-temperature superconductor, she can be found playing her clarinet, or skiing or climbing in the Alps.
Angelika Steger has been Full Professor for Computer Science at the Institute of Theoretical Computer Science at ETH Zurich since October 2003. She completed her doctorate in 1990 at the University of Bonn. She then held positions at the Universities of Kiel, Duisburg and TU München before she became a full professor at the Institute of Theoretical Computer Science at ETH Zürich in October 2003. From 2009 to 2016 she was also a fellow at Collegium Helveticum. Since 2015 she is co-director of the Branco-Weiss Fellowship. From 2005 to 2013 she served on the board of the research council of the Swiss National Science Foundation. 2007 she was elected member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. In 2014, she was invited to give a talk at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Seoul, Korea.
Klaas Enno Stephan (born 1972) 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.
Roman Stocker (born in 1975) is a Professor in the Institute of Environmental Engineering at ETH Zurich and the Chief Scientific Officer of PhAST, a medical diagnostics company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Roman's academic research focuses on environmental processes, particularly in the oceans: from harmful algal blooms, to coral bleaching, to oil spills, to the carbon cycle. Roman has pioneered the use of new technology - microfluidics - to zoom in on the smallest players behind these processes: the microbes. Roman's work has contributed to reveal their importance, frequently appearing in high-profile scientific journals including Science, Nature and PNAS, and being featured in popular media including the BBC, CNN, and the New York Times. At PhAST, Roman is creating new approaches to massively accelerate the diagnostics of infectious diseases, with the goal of fighting one of society's most pressing challenges - the rise of antibiotic resistance. When he is not busy creating new technology to understand or manage microbes, Roman is a keen traveler, enthusiastic scuba-diver, and proud father of two.
Pascal Strupler (born 1959) is the Director General of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, a position he has held since 2010. After graduating from the University of Bern with a degree in law, and from the IDHEAP Swiss Graduate School of Public Administration, Pascal pursued his career in the Federal Administration of Switzerland. He has held various positions in four Federal Departments (Ministries): he began in the Federal Department of Finance before joining the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and, after working at the Swiss embassy in Moscow and at the Office for European Affairs, he was appointed personal advisor to Federal Councillor Pascal Couchepin. He then served as Secretary General of the Federal Department of Home Affairs for seven years.
Bob Sumner (born 1975) is the associate director of Disney Research Zurich (DRZ) and an adjunct professor at ETH. At DRZ, Bob leads the lab’s research on animation and interactive graphics. His research group strives to bypass technical barriers in the animation production pipeline with new algorithms that expand the designer’s creative toolbox in terms of depiction, movement, deformation, stylization, control, and efficiency. Bob received a B.S. (1998) degree in computer science from the Georgia Institute of Technology and his M.S. (2001) and Ph.D. (2005) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He spent three years as a postdoctoral researcher at ETH before joining Disney. At ETH, Bob teaches a course called the Game Programming Laboratory in which students work in small teams to design and implement novel video games.
Daniel Surbek (born 1962) is medical doctor and Professor at University of Bern since 14 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 development.
Sabine Süsstrunk (born in 1962) is passionate about all things related to vision and imaging, from science to arts to computer vision and film to (deep) machine learning. She is full professor and Director of the Images and Visual Representation Lab (IVRL) at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). She also leads EPFL's Digital Humanities Institute. She is co-founder of the start-up Largo Films which develops sofy.tv, a distribution platform for short films. Sabine is member of the foundation council of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and member of the board of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SRG SSR).
Christoph Sutter is a Member of the Executive Board responsible for renewable energy and M&A at Axpo Power AG.In addition, he is an angel investor and non-executive Board Member of start-up companies in the field of sustainability. Before joining Axpo, he was the CEO of South Pole Group, a company he co-founded in 2006 that is globally active in the area of climate change and sustainability solutions. Prior to that he worked as a strategy consultant at McKinsey & Company in Zurich. Christoph is a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the Schwab Foundation.
Judit Szulagyi is a senior research associate at University of Zurich, working on planet- and satellite-formation. Judit started her career at NASA at age of 21 and completed her PhD in 2015. She was subsequently a post-doctoral fellow at ETH Zurich and she was selected among the Forbes list of "30 under 30 in Science". She then moved with an Ambizione grant by the Swiss National Science Foundation to the University of Zurich, where she continues her research. She is well known for being among the firsts to develop models for the formation of exomoons, namely moons around extrasolar planets, that might be a place where to look for life.
Veronika Tasić Vušurović is a management consultant, trainer and coach. As a consultant, she worked with clients all over Central and Eastern Europe, covering topics of strategy, sales and marketing, and overall business growth. The company she founded, Woozdom, helps individuals and organisations across Europe advance their skills and businesses. Veronika is passionate about creating and performing words, music and movement. Also, she almost shamelessly uses every opportunity to promote the amazing wines from Serbia
Fabian Unteregger (born 1977) 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. In his early days, the European champion in Improv caused quite a stir during Swiss Army basic training as a tank soldier with uncanny impressions of his superiors. Apart from chearing up Swiss army personnel, his idealism also led him to do charity. In 2011 he raised a substantial sum in aid of the Verein ALS Schweiz with his «Weihnachtsvorlesung Medizin» at the University of Zurich, which attracted more than 1,000 spectators. During a hospital stint in South Africa in 2013, he organized and presented a comedy show to raise money for the education of youngsters in townships. Unteregger holds a doctorate in medicine from the University of Basel, and, both, a master in food science and teaching from ETH. In 2016 he co-founded «Swiss Healthcare Startups», an organisation aiming at fostering healthcare startups in Switzerland. The scholarship winner also does research on the human voice and publishes in international journals. A keen aviation enthusiast, Fabian also enjoys playing music and can never resist a swim in the Lake of Zurich.
Effy Vayena is a Full Professor of Bioethics at ETH Zurich. She studied medical history and bioethics at the University of Minnesota (U.S.A.) and completed her habilitation in bioethics and health policy at the University of Zurich. From 2000 to 2007, she worked at the World Health Organization (WHO), focusing on ethical and policy issues relating to reproductive health, and assisted reproduction as well as on health research ethics. She remains at consultant to WHO and is visiting faculty at the Harvard Center for Bioethics, Harvard Medical School and faculty associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. In 2015, she was named a Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) professor of health policy and led the newly-established Health Ethics and Policy Lab in the Department of Public Health at the EBPI, University of Zurich. Her research focus there was on ethical and policy questions in personalized medicine and digital health. At the intersection of multiple fields, she relies on normative analyses and empirical methods to explore how values such as freedom of choice, participation, and privacy are affected by recent developments in personalized medicine and in digital health. She is particularly interested in the issues of ethical oversight of research uses of big data, ethical uses of big data for global health, as well as the ethics of citizen science. Using the ethics lens in innovative ways, her work aims to provide concrete policy recommendations and frameworks that facilitate the use of new technologies for a better and more just health. She has published widely in major journals in medicine, public health, health policy and ethics (“Lancet,” “Science Translational Medicine,” “PLoS Medicine,” “Journal of Medical Ethics”). Her research has been featured is several media outlets including the “Wall Street Journal,” “Neue Zürcher Zeitung,” and “The Scientist.”
Viola Vogel (born in Tübingen, Germany) is a professor of applied mechanobiology in the Department of Health Sciences and Technology at ETH. 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 forces and translate them into biochemical signals that change their functions. 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), the German government, scientific advisory boards (Switzerland, Germany, France, U.S.A., Singapore, U.K.), and by memberships on editorial boards. She is a member of the Global Agenda Council of the World Economic Forum and serves on the Jury for the Queen of Elizabeth Prize for Engineering. Viola enjoys exploring other cultures, international science policy, as well as photography, painting, skiing, and hiking.
Valerie von der Malsburg is the Program Manager at the WORLD.MINDS Foundation. Valerie has extensive experience in working with projects in the cultural field and the visual arts, as she has previsouly worked at The Art Institute of Chicago, Museum Ludwig in Cologne, the Deutsche Bank Collection and Art Basel Unlimited. Furthermore, she has helped organize independent exhibitions and event formats in Berlin and Cologne and worked as Curatorial Assistant for exhibitions on Tomás Saraceno, Alexander Calder, Jordan Wolfson and Otto Dix at the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf. During her studies, Valerie was Editorial Assistant at the news channel n-tv, and volunteered in elderly care and outdoor youth coaching. She studied Art History and Theory, Literature, Political Science and Law in Augsburg, Cologne, and Chicago.
Julia Vorholt (born in 1969) 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), a modified atomic force microscope. She is a member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.
Axel Wachholz is the Group Chief Financial Officer of Phoenix Contact, a leading electronics and automation firm with sales of € 2.2 bn and 16,500 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 Wagner is professor and chairman of the Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, and External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute for the study of Complex Systems. His main research interests revolve around the question how biological evolution brings forth innovations – new traits that help life survive. Wagner has authored more than 200 scientific publications in journals that include Nature, Science, and PNAS, as well as several books, including the award-winning book "Paradoxical Life", and "Arrival of the Fittest." Andreas received his Ph.D in 1995 at Yale University, where his research won the J.S. Nicholas prize for best dissertation in his field. He has lectured widely worldwide, and held research fellowships at several institutions, such as the Institute for Advanced Studies in Berlin, Germany, and the Institut des Hautes Etudes in Bures-sur-Yvette, France. Andreas is an elected member of the EMBO, an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, and a foreign associate of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. An Austrian born U.S. citizen, he lives with his wife and their son in Zurich, Switzerland.
Andreas Wallraff is a professor of physics at ETH Zurich since 2006. He and his team develop novel technologies to improve the power of computers and communication systems by exploiting the laws of quantum physics. In those systems, instead of storing information in conventional bits (which only take on values either 0 or 1 at a time), they create quantum bits (qubits) which can be in the state 0 and 1 simultaneously. This feature enables the storage of information in a register of qubits which is exponentially more efficient than a register of classical bits. Processing the information stored in such a register using a quantum computer allows to efficiently solve the most complex problems ranging from determining the properties of large molecules 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 future quantum information processors which is not only pursued by academic labs around the world but also by IBM, Raytheon, and Google. At ETH Zurich, Andreas promotes the Quantum Engineering Initiative in which commercial applications of quantum technologies are to be developed by joining the efforts of engineers and applied and basics scientists. Andreas studied physics at RWTH Aachen, Imperial College London, and University Erlangen-Nuremberg. He was a research scientist at Yale University. He received both the prestigious Starting and an Advanced Grant by the European Research Council (ERC) and was recognized by ETH Zurich with the Max Roessler Prize. In his spare time, Andreas is an avid ice hockey player and skier.
Alex Wassmer (born 1969) is owner, chairman, and CEO 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. 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, 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 “Distributed Ledger Technology: The Science of the Blockchain“, which has been translated to Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese.
Thomas Wellauer is group chief operating officer of Swiss Re. He 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. He also served on the boards of Syngenta and Munich Re. Thomas holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering and a degree in business economics. He currently is the chairman of the Swiss chapter and a member of the global executive board of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). Besides his business career, Thomas is a passionate traveler.
Thomas Werlen is the Managing Partner of the Zurich office of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, 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. 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), in addition to serving as Group General Counsel and Member of the Executive Committee for global pharma company Novartis. Since 2013, Thomas has been a Privatdozent for finance and capital markets law. Thomas lectures on corporate governance, finance, banking, securities and corporate law at both the University of St. Gallen and the University of Zurich. Among other things, Thomas was named one of the Top 20 Capital Markets Lawyers in the World (the Best of the Best) by IFLR and recognized as “in-house lawyer of the year” and as “transformative individual” by the Innovative Lawyers Report published by the Financial Times. Originally from Valais, Thomas likes hiking and mountaineering and is an avid skier.
Urs Wietlisbach co-founded Partners Group in 1996. He is an executive member of Partners Group Holding’s board of directors and chairman of the Markets Committee, based in Zug. He has 24 years of industry experience. Prior to founding Partners Group, he worked at Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse. He holds an M.B.A. from the University of St. Gallen (HSG).
Lukas Winkler (born 1962) 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 (born in 1976) and Jonas Anderhub (born in 1976) 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.
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.
Yves Zischek (born 1975) is Program Manager of SmartRail 4.0 for the digitalization of train services in Switzerland and member of the advisory board of Quinx AG. He has been working at SBB (Swiss Railway Services) since 2013, formerly as Head of Telecommunication in the Infrastructure Department. Yves has a master's degree from Strathclyde University of Glasgow and a Master of Arts from the University of Zurich. He has 20 years of experience in Telecommunication and IT and lives in Zurich with his wife and two children. He is fluent in speaking German, English, French and is working on his Italian and Hungarian language skills. He and his family love to travel around the globe and spending time with friends, he likes to climb, ski, swim and run, especially with his kids, and has a huge passion for books, music, vinyl, wine and cigars. He has a talent for impersonation and comedy.
Markus Zürcher (born 1961) 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.