He is one of those that helped to make the Swiss industrial history of the past decades and is still in the middle of it are. Lafarge Holcim Board of Directors President and lawyer, Beat Hess (70) has led three multi-national companies through mergers, grueling legal processes and crises. The last crisis is still not overcome completely.

Asea with Brown Boveri, ABB and Lafarge Holcim . Who are the Swedes or the French was easier?
Beat Hess: The speed, implemented with the help of the merger with Sweden, has done a lot easier. CEO Percy Barnevik has taken the book on the first day and during the negotiations, everything is in the pipeline. It then went very quickly.


In the case of Lafarge, Holcim start with, there were a few cultural difficulties and differences to be overcome. The boss of the group was not the Intended, then it came to Change in the Board of Directors. This led to delays. You don’t want, if you want to implement a Fusion efficiently. But the most important Fusion, which I accompanied, was at the oil and gas company Shell (the British Shell Transport and Trading merged with the Dutch Royal Dutch; translator’s note. d. Red.).


no, I don’t think so. Each of the mergers was also associated with large crises. At ABB, we have had lawsuits due to asbestos, in Shell because of the wrong Declaration of Oil and gas reserves – that was a big crisis.


The most difficult, I think it is, if a merger brings to the employees insecurity. If the employees are not satisfied, can go to the company.

in Geneva, and the United States trained the Obwalden Chancellery lawyer, Beat Hess (70) took over the Board of Directors of Lafarge, Holcim in 2015, in the middle of the crisis. Difficult mergers, he experienced already as the chief lawyer in the case of BBC Brown Boveri (later ABB) and Royal Dutch Shell from 2003 to 2011. Today, he is also Vice-Chairman of the Board of Sonova, as well as the Board of Directors at Nestlé.

Lafarge, Holcim back on a growth course. There is now an Expansion?
Yes, we want to continue to grow. My main task was at the beginning, to bring peace in the company, the cultures merge. To bring against 80’000 employees in 80 countries around the world in an organization that was a big task.

Lafarge, Holcim about this?
a little beauty is not “error”. For us, it has at the Moment a top priority, the CO2 emissions to reduce our products. Since 1990, we have the CO2 emissions per ton of cement has already been reduced by 25 percent. We use also a lot of waste for our cement kilns. We do a lot, but enough to make never.

cause than conventional. How’s the sale ?
The sales share of these products is still small, we want to increase it. However, the construction industry in the world must play along. This thinking also and is open to emissions for products with less CO2. But you also look at the cost. Is likely to cement in many countries is still too cheap. That is why we have advocated always a scheme, the CO2 is a fair price.


We find that the CO2 emissions cost something. This is not yet the case in all countries.


I reject any Form of violence. My children take part in any demonstrations. But the topic is discussed in us. To me, the devastation of the oceans with plastic, tremendous Worry. I’d like to collect all the plastic out of the oceans of the world and in our cement kilns to recycle.


It is plastic, cannot be recycled. This plastic is used in our Ovens without any residue. Our subsidiary company, Geocycle is specialized, substances, even chemical wastes in the cement kilns harmless.

Syria. How they experience the event?
At ABB and Shell, I was operational in the middle of it and I also passed. Today, as President of the Board of Directors, I have a different role. The Syria case is for me uncomfortable, because he has a strong moral component. The Situation was misjudged. Employees paid, apparently, in the case of road blockages to get to the factory. But we could never find out where the money had gone.

Lafarge, Holcim is set when, in October, over the Objections be decided?
So easy, it will not be. The court will have to decide in the first instance, whether or not really violations of human rights exist. Then there are technical questions, such as whether a company can ever be for such a violation will be filed. This is in the hands of the court.

Wegzölle would be worn to your company, what would happen?
There is zero tolerance today. We are in some very difficult countries. I can’t say naive, we always have to each day and night time each employee under control. But if anything comes to the table, which violates our rules, then it is for the guilty, that they must leave us. We do not accept that. These are not just moral Considerations.


I know from my own experience that a Person in the company can threaten the very existence of an entire company with 80’000 employees. We don’t want that. Today we have a Hotline and anonymous reporting options. We are very sensitized to everything and everyone.

group a sense of responsibility-Initiative ?
The Initiative is a gigantic absurdity, which will weaken our economy, location is huge. I have nothing against the Swiss company for damages abroad. But that is what they are today. Shell or Lafarge of Holcim are suing abroad, time and again.


It would be arrogant to say of Switzerland, only we can decide whether or not abroad, human rights are violated, or the environment is harmed. I know very high-quality judgments from third world countries that were against us. Nevertheless, we have to say “Chapeau” because they clarified the issue professionally and have the right to apply. In Holland and England, for instance, Shell was convicted of violation of Rights of fishermen in the Niger Delta.


non-governmental organizations will be traveling in these countries around and collect signatures against Lafarge, Holcim, Nestlé, or others, and actions. The Swiss courts are burdened to the Limit. Sometimes I would like to invite these initiators in a Board meeting as an observer, in order to see how sensitive it is nowadays.