«Anyone who takes on this sort of position has to give of themselves too»

– Franziska Gsell was elected to the Board of Directors of Zurich Convention Center at its AGM in June 2021. She brings with her not only her radiant personality, but above all her soundly based know-how and international perspective. The 51 year-old native of Zurich is the first woman to join the board, and she reveals what she’ll focus on and why she didn’t immediately decide to stand for election.

Mrs Gsell, many congratulations on your election to the Board of Directors! How did this come about?

I’ve known Thomas Metzger (a previous board member and a former CFO and CEO at Feldschlösschen) for many years, and he of course is also aware of my ‘career’. Upon his recommendation, I was asked by Jean-Marc Hensch, the chair of the board, whether I would put myself up for election.

Did you have to think about it for a while when the request came?

Not in terms of what it involved: I love Zurich, I live here, and the Convention Center is simply an institution. I have an affinity for the Convention Center and what it does because I have lots of experience of live communication myself, and I have a link with catering and gastronomy because I was involved with the drinks sector for many years. The thing I actually had to give a lot of thought to and discuss with my family was whether I could manage it from a time perspective too – in addition to another board membership and of course my dual function as Chief Marketing Officer and Sustainability Committee Chair at IWC. The people I’ve hitherto met at Zurich Convention Center are passionate and professional, and that also convinced me to be a candidate.

Do you reckon you’ll change the Board of Directors?

You’d actually need to ask the other members (laughs). I’d like to introduce an international perspective. My roots are in Switzerland, but I’m very international in the way I think – and that makes me an open, farsighted person who has a profound understanding of different target groups and isn’t afraid to approach people, someone who also is willing to address unpleasant issues if needs be. That’s how I’d like to make my contribution as a member of the board at Zurich Convention Center. If you take on that sort of mandate, you also have to get actively involved and assume responsibility.

Which issues are you focussing on?

After various posts in the commercial sector and as CEO of a turnaround company, I bring with me soundly based strategic, commercial, and customer-oriented knowledge of a variety of industries. My outlook is international too, so I’ll definitely be able to contribute a great deal when it comes to the topic of strategic direction & marketing in this country and above all throughout the world. That includes thinking about competitiveness, customer-centricity, and digitalization too.

«It was especially exciting to be able to have a look behind the scenes too

Franziska Gsell, Member of the Board Zurich Convention Center

You’ve had a tour of the renovated building: What particularly impressed you?

The entire complex, the building, the elements that have been preserved, the size, the versatile room design, the futuristic digital equipment and opportunities… It was especially exciting to be able to have a look behind the scenes too. Did you know how enormous a banquet kitchen is (laughs)? The restaurant and the terrace with their breathtaking views of the lake are an absolute highlight for Zurich.

What are you most looking forward to?

Helping to fill Zurich Convention Center with life again, and offering people unforgettable experiences. Isn’t that a wonderful thing!

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