The "Chair for International Management - Liebherr/Richemont Endowed Chair" at the University of Fribourg/Switzerland has been established in September 2007. It has been made possible by generous donations by the multinational companies Liebherr and Richemont.
The chair is responsible for the "Master of Arts in European Business" (click here for a detailed description of the programme). The chair focuses on research and teaching in the fields of International Management, with a particular focus on European Business.
The holder of the chair is Prof. Dr. Dirk Morschett.
Some Highlights of the Past Years
In addition to the regular lectures, the chair has organised a number of special events, like excursions or guest lectures. Some of them are presented below.
Presentation by Christoph Rief, Managing Director, and Jérôme Meyer, Director Operations, Aldi Suisse Domdidier
In May 2013, Christoph Rief and Jérôme Meyer from Aldi Suisse presented the marketing and sales strategy at Aldi. In Switzerland, Aldi operates three distribution centers in Domdidier, Schwarzenbach, and Dagmarsellen to serve more than 160 stores. Besides the company history, also the business model, organizational structures and the conviction of the company were shown. Furthermore, Mr. Rief and Mr. Meyer presented career opportunities and perspectives at Aldi Suisse and were open for discussion and answered questions.
Presentation by Allessandro Rigoni, Commercial Director, Nestlé Suisse
Also in May 2013, Allessandro Rigoni, Commercial Director at Nestlé Suisse, one of the world biggest food and beverage companies, located near Lausanne at Lac Léman, talked to the students in the course of Distribution Strategies and Retailing in Europe. The aim of Mr. Rigoni’s speech was to provide further insights on the Nestlé Group, the Swiss market and its particularities as well as issues and opportunities from a retailer and manufacturer point of view.
Presentation by Laurent Vonmoos, Director Sales Switzerland, Philip Morris S.A.
Laurent Vonmoos, Director Sales Switzerland at Philip Morris S.A. gave, also in May 2013, another interesting presentation about the distribution strategy of Philip Morris in Switzerland. After introducing Philip Morris from an international point of view, combined with a market analysis of the tobacco market, the distribution strategy in Switzerland was presented. Furthermore, the strategy of Margot & Cie S.A., a specialized Swiss tobacco wholesaler, was presented. After the presentation, Mr. Vonmoos and a colleague, who recently started as a trainee at PMI, as well as Claude Denti, Director of Margot, were available for answering questions.
Presentation by Oliver Bertschinger, Regional Director Europe of OSEC Business Network Switzerland...
In May 2012, on the invitation of Prof Dirk Morschett, Oliver Bertschinger explained to the students from the University of Fribourg the internationalisation capabilities of Swiss companies and the framework requirements in different European markets. He pointed out the main success factors of the Swiss export economy, which is continuously growing in several sectors despite financial crisis and strong appreciation of the Swiss Franc. He also brought students attention, to the problems which resulted from the currency movements.
...and Miguel Fonollosa, Leader Swiss Business Hub Poland (OSEC)
Mr Miguel Fonollosa reported, on the same occasion, on an excellent progress in Poland and high economic growth, as compared to other European countries during the last few years. He concluded that Polish market offers attractive prospects for Swiss companies.
Excursion to Coop national distribution centre...
In April 2012 students of the Chair for International Management had an opportunity to visit logistic centre and observe how the logistics concepts are integrated in practice. During a visit to the national distribution centre of Coop in Wangen near Olten, René Christ, an expert in the field, explained the logistic strategy of the company and the most important logistic processes. Together with a colleague he guided the group though the huge warehouse. Students were showed detailed flow of goods, including the goods receiving processes, the stockpiling, the consignment and the goods issuing to the different regional warehouses.
The concept of an online grocery shop was illustrated to a group of students during their visit at coop@home in Spreitenbach. The managing director Philippe Huwyler, the marketing manager Ellen Brasse and the logistic manager Thomas Rossel explained to the students the business model and the marketing concept of an online food delivery service. Managers gave students a tour around the distribution centre and were at students’ disposal for question and answer session. While food online shops in Germany barely exist, coop@home has been successful in Switzerland for many years.
Presentation by Reto Aeschbacher
Head of Marketing, Scott Sports
In December 2011, Reto Aeschbacher, Head of Marketing, Scott Sports, a company that is a global leader in the development, manufacturing, sales and marketing of high end performance products intended for biking, wintersport, motosport and other sports, and which is located in Fribourg, talked to the students in the course on European Marketing and presented the international marketing strategy of the company.
Presentation by Carles Brand, Head of Marketing, Tetrapak
Also in December 2011, another interesting presentation took place at the University of Fribourg. Charles Brand, Vice President Marketing and Product Management of Tetrapak International, explained to the students marketing processes of the global, leading producer in packaging. Mr Brand started working in the head office of Tetrapak, after he made a career in Great Britain, United States and in Taiwan. In the presentation he explained the new product development process at Tetrapak cooperation process between the headquarters, the company and market organisations in the host country.
Presentation by Georges Kern, CEO
of the luxury watch brand IWC
In November 2011, Georges Kern, CEO of the luxury watch brand International Watch Company IWC gave a lecture on the global marketing of IWC at the University of Fribourg. He presented the positioning aspects of different watch models (for instance Pilot, Portuguese, and Portofino). He also illustrated on the example of an extensive case study, how the campaign for the Portofino model was developed.
Presentation by Annette Heimlicher, Director of Corporate Development, Contrinex
Also in November 2011, Annette Heimlicher, Director of Corporate Development, Contrinex, presented the internationalisation strategy of this company to the students in the Master in European Business. Contrinex is a world leading manufacturer of inductive and photoelectric sensors. Since its foundation in 1972, Contrinex has grown from a one-man concern into a small multi-national Group employing over 500 people worldwide. However, it still concentrates exclusively on the development, manufacturing and sales of sensing equipment for industrial applications. Annette Heimlicher explained in detail, using cases from specific countries, how Contrinex enters a foreign market and also discussed how to coordinate foreign subsidiaries.
Presentation by Lukas Bucheli, Brand Manager at Nivea Schweiz
In October 2011 Lukas Bucheli, Brand Manager at Nivea Schweiz, gave a presentation on the International Marketing of the company. Using an example of a new product development- a shower gel, he illustrated how Nivea launches such products on the international markets. Furthermore he explained different organisational aspects. Since Thomas Bucheli completed his master degree in Fribourg University only few years ago, the presentation was also highly interesting for the students from the point of career entry and career with an international company.
Study Trip to Bangkok in July 2009 and in July 2011
In July 2009 and July 2011, the Chair for International Management has organised a summer school in Bangkok in cooperation with a leading local university, the CMMU. With a mix of lecturer from academics, presentations of practitioners and company visits, e.g. at Colgate and Liebherr, students had the unique opportunity to collect own experience in this country. A similar programme is planned for 2013.
Presentation by Günter Verheugen, Former Vice-president of the European Commission and responsible Commissioner for Industry and Corporation
On the occasion of Day of Europe in May 2011, Günter Verheugen, Former Vice-president of the European Commission and responsible Commissioner for Industry and Corporation, gave a talk on the chances and challenges in connection with the expansion of the European Union. Mr. Verheugen, held an office in the European Commission between 1999 and 2004 and was responsible for the political expansion of the EU. He had a significant influence on shaping of the European Union’s politics.
Presentation by Paul Fries, member of supervisory board and shareholder at SeaKing
In April 2011, Dr Paul Fries, member of supervisory board and shareholder at SeaKing, gave a presentation on international value-added processes in the company. SeaKing is the world market leader for gastronomic facilities (such as large-scale catering establishments) for the cruise liners. Many company activities, such as selling, are handled by the Swiss headquarters. Finland is responsible for most of the engineering services. Construction is carried out in a wholly owned subsidiary in Poland. Finally kitchen facilities for the cruise liners are installed in different European shipyards. The coordination of those complex international processes were emphasised in the presentation by Mr Fries.
Presentation by Michel Grandchamps, Head of New Business at T-Systems Switzerland
Also in April 2011, on the invitation of the Chair for International Management, Michel Grandchamps, Head of New Business at T-Systems Switzerland gave a talk entitled “Nearshoring at T-Systems”, at the University of Fribourg. He spoke to the students about different IT-services which T-Systems offers to its customers. Mr Grandchamps also explained the international division of work in the company, in order to put those IT services at clients disposal. Furthermore, two of his colleagues from T-Systems, who recently graduated from Fribourg University, briefly described career opportunities in this company, which can be found in subsidiaries exist all over the world.
Executive Talks by Roland Frefel, Coop
In the lecture on distribution strategies and retailing, two top-executives of a Swiss consumer goods manufacturer and a Swiss retail company gave presentations to the students.In November 2010, Roland Frefel, responsible for the Category Management of Basic Foods and Beverages at Coop, explained the complex business of Switzerland’s largest retail company. He discussed the different distribution channels and their development with the students. In particular, the developments in the merchandise mix (e.g. the strategies with regard to store brands) were treated as well as the category management process.
Presentation by Alessandro Rigoni, Nestlé
In December 2010, Alessandro Rigoni, Commercial Director at Nestlé Switzerland, a close business partner of Coop, talked to the students about the particularities of the Swiss distribution landscape and how the global market leader in consumer goods – Nestlé – adapts to the local market conditions. The developments in the retail market, e.g. concerning the development of brands and store brands, were discussed with the students and the strategies of Nestlé to cope with those developments.
Presentation by Erwin Kälin, Geberit, on the International Distribution of the Company
The first executive talk of the fall semester 2010 was given by Erwin Kälin, Area Sales Manager of Geberit for the markets of the Near East and Africa. In November 2010, he explained to our students – using the example of South Africa – how Geberit enters foreign markets, how the company establishes pull- and push-activities in these markets and how it adapts its activities to the specific national conditions. In this business, it is crucial to train the middleman about the product usage and Geberits helps its national distributors in this task. Furthermore, Mr. Kälin pointed to the high relevance of large projects (e.g. building hotels, soccer stadiums, etc.) as one major pillar of Geberits business in many foreign countries. In South Africa, the FIFA world cup in 2010 lead to many of these projects being developed in the previous years.
Presentation by Jean-Marie Ayer, Dartfish, on the International Management of the Company
Dartfish is a company in the field of digital imaging technology. The company that started in 1998 quickly grew and became well known for its innovative digital image enhancements in the sports broadcast world. Today, its technologies and know-how are widely recognized for exclusive televised broadcast footage and breakthrough training applications for sports, education, healthcare and more. Dartfish has its headquarters in Fribourg and offices in Atlanta, USA, Sophia-Antipolis (France), Sydney, Tokyo, and Seoul.Jean-Marie Ayer, co- founder and a member of the board, explained the student the challenges and pitfalls in the fast internationalisation process of thecompany and the management of the international company network.
Focus on Chinese Business
Chinese business is of crucial importance for European companies: First, China is a very important market and production location for European companies. But furthermore, Chinese companies have started their internationalisation process and it is very likely that Chinese MNCs will become important actors in European Business as well. Therefore, we invited Prof. Aoyu WEI as visiting lecturer to give a block course on Business in China. Prof. Wei is Chinese and he received his PhD from the renowned Fudan University in Shanghai. Since the mid-1990s he lives in France. He is teaching cross-cultural management at the HEC in Paris and he consults companies like EDF and PSA Peugeot-Citroën concerning their activities in China. Thus, he knows the particularities of Chinese business from an academic and a practical experience. Topics like the Chinese culture, the legal environment, human resource management, Marketing, business negotiations in China as well as mergers & acquisition activities of Chinese companies were described and analysed in the course.
In addition, an expert from an American university, Prof. Marc Fetscherin, gave a presentation on the globalisation of Chinese brands within that lecture, focussing on examples like Haier or Lenovo.
Visit to the Headquarters of Richemont in Geneva
In April 2010, a group of 40 students from the MA in European Business were invited to visit the HQ of Richemont in Bellevue, Geneva.
The Group HR Director, Mr. Thomas Lindemann, welcomed the group and gave them intensive and detailed insights into the luxury business. In a very interactive manner, the basics of this business were discussed but also recent developments such as different developments in international markets or the changes in the distribution strategies. The discussion was continued in the course of a business lunch on invitation of Richemont.
Presentation by Dr. Heribert Knittlmayer and Roger Schaerer, Swiss Export Risk Insurance SERV
In May 2010, two experts from the Swiss Export Risk Insurance SERV, an institution of the Swiss Confederation, gave the students an overview on exports risks in general and detailed insights intothe possibilities for companies to manage export risks. In particular, the different instruments that SERV provides were explained.
Presentation by Ralf Balzer, European Patent Office
The European Patent Organisation is an intergovernmental organisation which currently has 38 member states, including Switzerland. It provides a uniform application procedure for individual inventors and companies seeking patent protection across Europe.
In May 2010, Ralf Balzer from the European Patent Office talked to the students about “Patents as a Mean to Protect Intellectual Propoerty”. He explained the relevance of patents for the economy in general, the European Patent System and the different ways for inventors to apply for a patent in a specific nation or across Europe.
Presentation by Ulrike Spang-Lessnow, Deputy Retail Manager, IKEA Switzerland
In May 2009, the deputy retail manager of IKEA Switzerland gave us insights into the international management and coordination of a highly successful multinational company – IKEA. She explained the division of labour and decisions between the headquarters (or, in this case, the different superordinate units) and the local subsidiary in Switzerland.
Presentation by Thomas Pletscher, Member of the Executive Board, Economiesuisse
In April 2009, one of the members of the executive board of economiesuisse, gave a speech on parallel imports into Switzerland the application of the Cassis de Dijon principle – a highly topical issue for Swiss companies. economiesuisse is the largest umbrella organisation representing the Swiss economy. It has the support of more than 30,000 businesses of all sizes, employing a total of 1.5 million people in Switzerland.
Excursion European Business to Brussels and Rotterdam
In the spring semester 2009 (as already in the spring semester 2008), the chair has organised an excursion to Brussels and Rotterdam for 4 days.
The group visited the EU commission and the Swiss Mission to the EU. We then had the opportunity to meed with the Director General of the JAMA (Japanese Automobile Manu facturers’ Association) in Brussel.
After driving to Rotterdam, the group visited the logistic service provider Broekman Group that manages the Rotterdam Car Terminal. Another full day was dedicated to the Port of Rotterdam, Europe’s largest logistic and industrial hub. Additional information can be found here.
Day Trip to Logistic Centres and Production Sites
In May 2009, the Chair for International Management has organised a day trip with visits to some of the most sophisticated logistic centres in Switzerland. Students of the MA in European Business, in addition to a group of students from the Europa-Institut, Saarbrücken, Germany, have participated.
After an early morning departure by bus, the programme started with a visit of the Bell Production and Logistics Centre in Oensingen. There, Bell produces directly for McDonald’s and both logistics sites are directly co-located (in a concept called “foodtown”).
After a presentation by McDonald’s on the sustainability strategy and from HAVI Logistics (the third party logistics service provider that takes over all logistics activities for McDonald’s in Switzerland, the McDonald’s Logistics Centre was visited. In the afternoon, the group went to Wangen, were the national distribution centre of Coop is located. From there, Coop coordinated the logistics for its nonfood products. Again, a comprehensive visit to the distribution center was supplemented with intensive presentations on the concept.
Day Trip to Aldi Suisse and WAGO
In November 2009, we visited the distribution center of ALDI in Domdidier where the managing director Beat Pahud gave us a tour and explained the main principles of the discounter and of the logistics concept.
ALDI SUISSE has entered the market in 2005 and has about 100 outlets now. The new and up-to-date distribution centre in Domdidier receives and distributes the articles for a major part of that store network.
After a lunch break in Avenches, we visited the Production Site of WAGO in Domdidier. After an introductory presentation, a guided tour through the facilities offered us insights into the production of the electrical connecting system products.
Wago, with its headquarter in Minden, Germany, is a world-wide operating company with subsidiaries or agencies on every continent and production sites in Germany, Switzerland, Poland, China, India, the USA and in Japan. It is a leading company in innovative connecting technology.
Presentation by Bruno Wiederkehr,
Sales Director, Warner Bros. Home Video
Warner Bros. is a fully integrated entertainment company and a global leader in all forms of entertainment and their related businesses. With distribution in 90 international territories Warner Home Video commands the largest distribution infrastructure in the global video marketplace. Internationally, Warner is the No. 1 studio with 16% world market share.
In December 2009, Bruno Wiederkehr gave a comprehensive presentation on the implementation of Warner Bros.’ global mar-keting and sales strategy in the Swiss market.
Presentation by Katalin Dreher,
Consultant, OSEC Business Network Switzerland
OSEC Business Network Switzerland is working on behalf of the Swiss government. One of its main tasks is the support of Swiss companies in their export activities.
In November 2009, Katalin Dreher shared insights into the Swiss foreign trade in general, the forms of internationalization and the mandate of OSEC, in particular explaining the « step-by-step » concept to exporting which it provides to Swiss firms. A strong focus was on the market opportunities in Eastern European countries.
Presentation by Beat Pahud,
Managing Director, Aldi Suisse Domdidier
In November 2009, Beat Pahud explained the international management activities within the Aldi group as well as the relationship between Aldi Suisse and its parent company in Germany.
Aldi is the World’s largest harddiscounter. In 2005, Aldi has entered the Swiss market, a very particular retail market. The presentation gave the students insights into the necessary activities when entering a new country market.
Presentation by Dr Beat Brechbühl,
Partner, Kellerhals Attorneys at Law on M
& A in Europe
Also in November 2009, Dr. Beat Brechbühl gave a detailed and comprehensive presentation on Mergers & Acquisitions in Europe. He explained the necessary steps in preparing and executing a buy-side M&A process and highlighted his explanations by presenting a specific case study of a recent M&A case which his company supported with its legal expertise.