Australian executive calls "Swiss Riviera" home

John Kidd enjoying his terrace in Montreux

Australian John Kidd is among the thousands of foreign workers who take a leading role in running Switzerland's corporate economy.

This content was published on December 25, 2001 minutes

He is a marketing and communications director with the cutting-edge digital television software group, Lysis.

The information technology industry has been welcomed to Switzerland, where small, state-of-the-art firms cluster alongside big names in the industry.

"The industry is moving ahead very quickly, we have good products and we were recently bought by the Kudelski Group, and that gives us a lot of resources to use," said Kidd.

"It is a very innovative country, the educational standards here are quite high, so it's relatively easy to recruit software developers," explained Kidd. "In television software in particular there are a number of very advanced companies in Switzerland."

Born in 1967 in Brisbane, Kidd studied economics and law. Before moving to Switzerland his career took him to Brussels, London and Hong Kong.

A quieter life

Now he lives and works in what is affectionately known as the "Swiss Riviera" that runs along Lac Leman from Geneva, past Lausanne to the jazz-loving Montreux.

From his terrace overlooking the lake, Kidd explained why he moved to Switzerland.

"After two years in Hong Kong I wanted to move back to Europe," he said. "Ideally I was looking for a quieter life away from the crowds of Hong Kong and I had a good job offer here so I moved."

He had expected to spend just two to three years in Switzerland, but five years on he's settled into the Swiss Riviera lifestyle.

"I couldn't think of a more perfect choice than living in Montreux and working in Lausanne and commuting through the terraced vineyards every day, looking at the lake on one side and the mountains on the other - superb."

A few drawbacks

There are drawbacks, however.

"For somebody from Australia there are some problems rooted in the official agreements, or the lack of official agreements between the two countries," explained Kidd.

"For instance it takes ten years to get a residence permit that isn't tied to your job as opposed to five years for other European countries and the US. Also there is an absence of agreements on pensions and taxation."

Overall, however, the benefits to being based in Switzerland are very appealing to foreign executives such as Kidd.

The transport system is good, the standard of government and recreational possibilities are also part of the attraction, he said.

by Tom O'Brien

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