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“My Son’s Employee and Boss”

Interview published in NZZ-Equity magazine on 8 November 2012

By Daniel Imwinkelried and Beat Gygi

Entrepreneur Urs Würsch recently handed over the management of the family-owned business to his son Thomas. What does that mean for the company and the relationship between the two of them?

(Excerpt)

How long did you work on succession planning?

Urs Würsch: Over the past ten to twelve years, though not always with the same intensity. Otherwise it wouldn't work out considering the countless issues that need to be addressed. First and foremost, it’s essential to find out whether any of the children is able and willing to take over the company.

Have your new ideas sometimes met with opposition?

Thomas Würsch: Not the ideas, but the speed at which I wanted to translate them into action. That said, I also probably overestimated how quickly projects can be implemented in industry.
Urs Würsch:
I’ve never felt that my son’s approach is brash, by the way. Young employees should bring new ideas into a company since older staff often tend to act as a brake. Together, they make a good mix. Many ideas cannot be realised, for either financial or technical reasons. But they still provide impetus for innovations that move a company forward.

Where do you set different priorities?

Thomas Würsch: I used to be responsible for the French market and later built up a marketing department. Marketing will still be one of my focuses in the years ahead, and this is also a mission set by the Board of Directors. Now we’re putting more emphasis on energy efficiency and have rebranded the business. …

Read the full interview as a PDF file (German only)

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