Daniel Vasella named businessman of the year

Vasella impressed the judges with his performance Keystone

The head of the Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis, Daniel Vasella, has come top of the class in an annual poll of more than 150 financial experts. But there were black marks for the Swissair Group, Zurich Financial Services and Kuoni.

This content was published on June 17, 2001 - 17:32

Ninth in the rankings in 2000, Vasella secured a quarter of this year's vote. Swatch's Nicolas Hayek came in a close second and the bronze medal went to the former president of UBS, Alex Krauer.

The Swissair Group's Mario Corti, who has been battling to get the loss-making airline back on its feet, also put in a strong showing, snapping up 19 per cent of the vote.

The poll was conducted by DemoScope Research and Marketing for the Zurich-based consultancy firm, Knight Gianella & Partners. Directors and their companies were judged on their respective performances throughout the year.

Roche's former president, Fritz Gerber, who was crowned top dog last year, saw his share price fall as he slipped down to 16th place. Business was only slightly better for last year's runner-up, Nestlé president Rainer Gut, who dropped four places to sixth.

The prize for the best performing board of directors went to the food conglomerate, Nestlé, for the second year running. But there was a welcome return to form for the banking giant UBS, which fought its way up to third place after being branded one of the "worst performers" in 2000.

Novartis' board, no doubt thanks to Vasella's strong performance, grabbed second spot from last year's incumbent Roche, which suffered a minor fall from grace, slipping down to eighth place.

swissinfo with agencies

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