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Expo.01: A chronology of a crisis

The national exhibition was originally planned to mark the 150th anniversary of the Swiss confederation in 1998. But in 1994, the government decided to stage a separate exhibition, Expo.01, which was to open in 2001.

This content was published on October 4, 1999 - 16:01

The national exhibition was originally planned to mark the 150th anniversary of the Swiss confederation in 1998. But in 1994, the government decided to stage a separate exhibition, Expo.01, which was to open in 2001.

The following are some key developments of the project:

June 1995 -- The government picks its favourite project among three proposals: Expo.01 is to be staged on the lakesides of three Swiss lakes in the Neuchâtel, Murten and Biel region.

February 1996 – A government-commissioned study estimates that the exhibition will cost about SFr730 million ($487 million). The government pledges SFr130 ($87 million) and the rest is to be shouldered mostly by Swiss business.

October 1998 – The technical director of Expo.01, Paolo Ugolini, resigns due to “internal problems.” The resignation triggers a first crisis.

December 1998 – Artistic director Pipilotti Rist throws in the towel. She refers to the heavy workload, but her resignation confirms the public impression of management problems and a dispute over the exhibition’s artistic profile.

July 1999 – Business leader André von Moos resigns as chief of staff and deputy director-general after only two months on the job. He says he resigns because of “clashing opinions regarding expectations and demands” of his job.

July 1999 – The 50-member jury selecting the artistic exhibits for Expo.01 resigns. The head of the jury says sponsors are becoming too dominant and the artistic quality of the exhibits cannot be guaranteed.

August 1999 – The board overseeing Expo.01 sacks Director-General Jacqueline Fendt, amid allegations of management shortcomings and her perceived failure to win financial support from Swiss industry.

September 1999 -- A report by prominent Swiss businessman Nicolas Hayek calls for a new, full-time and professional management team. The report warns that the project will run out of money within weeks unless more funds are forthcoming quickly.

September 1999 – The financial and marketing directors of Expo.01, Rudolf Burkhalter and Aloys Hirzel, say they are making way for full-time managers to take their respective posts.

September 1999 – Two prominent politicians and leading management figures of the project, Francis Matthey and Elisabeth Zölch, say they will not seek a post in the new 5-member management team that is to lead Expo.01.

From staff and wire reports.













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