1. Did you have a dream job as a child?
I always wanted to be a monument conservationist. Old houses and their stories, all traces of former residents fascinated me and still do today.
2. What would you do differently if you could start all over again?
I would do even more intensive and competitive sport, it helps to experience competition as something positive at an early stage.
3. How did you rate your teachers?
Most of the time I had a good relationship with my teachers, except when I had the impression that they were lazy and not very committed. I still consider this a “crime” against children’s future prospects.
4. What extracurricular achievement in your youth are you proud of?
The foundation of a Guggen music!
5. Is the management training up to date?
Since I do not allow myself to judge. I am leading further training institutions for business lawyers at the University of Zurich, we are top. I teach a lot abroad (USA, China) and see nothing better there – and if it is, we will integrate it straight away.
6. Where would you set other priorities in leadership training?
In addition to the head and the tools of the trade, everything depends on people, their character, their professional attitude. Comprehensive education, which not only includes professional knowledge, is therefore central to me.
7. Who promoted you the most?
8. Who is a professional role model for you?
Apart from my father (he was also a lawyer), I have few role models. A whole range of personalities with whom I could work have shaped me and made me who I am today.
9. What are the most important virtues of a manager for you?
Lead by example, challenge and promote, trust, create a good working atmosphere.
10. Which characteristics of your employees do you think are valuable?
Positive engagement. I don’t want employees with a negative attitude, something like that has a negative effect on the whole team.
11. What do women’s quotas bring?
For yourself, as a goal and brand, a lot, as a fixed predetermined quota, little.
12. Have your leadership principles changed over time?
No. The complaint goes that the professional world has become more hectic, more stressful.
In principle, that should be true, but you also have more options, opportunities and freedoms. Those who want to and can use that are better off today.
13. The topic of sustainability moves. Your contribution, today and in the future?
I am not the most sustainable person there is, but I make an effort in small things (shopping, waste). If one understands this in a broader sense also in dealing with people, sustainability is very important to me.
14. How do you feel the current economic situation?
With the right effort, business is going well today.
15. What was the last thing you argued about?
Controversy itself can advance a discussion, it depends on the general conditions. For example, we recently argued internally about the sensible extent of data protection and the concept of privacy in the digital age. I often exclaim, especially when it comes to administrative idle times, resentment and excessive bureaucracy.
16. What does money mean to you?
Helpful to make life more pleasant; Earning money has never been my ultimate goal.
17. What is the importance of social networks for you?
I am not very represented in the social networks, Whatsapp and e-mail are the ultimate for me, both professionally and privately.
18. Service clubs?
I am a member of the Rotary Club Zurich Turicum, a great balance. Although I can’t attend that often due to my job, the club and its members are very important to me, something that I don’t want to miss.
19. Do you listen to advice from your private environment?
If they are good, please.
20. Do you trust your gut feeling?
21. Where were you recently on vacation?
In Italy, “still my favorite” for forty years.
22. How well do you cook?
Italian, not too bad since I took a three-month cooking class many years ago.
23. Olympic games, big football tournaments – special days for you?
24. What really brings you relaxation?
Reading on a nice afternoon in my little mountain pasture in the Graubünden mountains.
25. What can you get angry about?
About laziness, lack of engagement and limited thinking.
26. How many hours do you work per day?
I have various jobs – lawyer, director, professor, member of the competition commission, honorary general consul of Austria. I would really say work: around ten hours. But there are also a lot of evening events.
27. What failure have you learned a lot from?
I accidentally put gasoline in my diesel car, it gave me excitement! Since then, I look twice before I fill up, sometimes even three times.
28. In which area have you recently trained?
In my job as a lawyer, I am often confronted with new subject areas and legal questions, into which I have to read, familiarize myself and deepen. The last topic was about data protection.
29. Which sentence do you particularly distrust?
I mistrust sentences like “We have never done this before” or “This is impossible” or “to rest on his laurels”.
30. What do you dislike as a citizen?
That we have never been able to regulate our relationship with the EU in the long term since 1992. This question is obviously politically managed.
31. Are you confident about Switzerland?
Yes, but what wants to stay the same must also be ready to change. We no longer live in the 19th century.
For the person
Andreas Kellerhals, 59, Prof. Dr. iur., married, is director of the Europa-Institut at the University of Zurich (EIZ), a competence and further education center in the legal form of an association with around 800 members. It is a leading provider of legal training and a think tank on European issues. The EIZ is independent of the University of Zurich and financially self-supporting. It maintains a network in Switzerland and Europe, in the USA and in China and organizes lectures every semester at the University of Zurich, according to the annual Churchill symposium. The Swiss Legal law firm, whose partner is Kellerhals, is a network of eight independent law firms in Switzerland with around 80 lawyers.
Interview: Walter Hagenbüchle