Government, business leaders discuss 2001 national exhibition

The Swiss government, business leaders and organisers of the controversial 2001 national exhibition were meeting Monday in an attempt to restore public trust in the Expo.01 project and secure its financial future.

This content was published on August 16, 1999 - 11:36

The Swiss government, business leaders and organisers of the controversial 2001 national exhibition were meeting Monday in an attempt to restore public trust in the Expo.01 project and secure its financial future.

The meeting -- which includes President Ruth Dreifuss, Economics Minister Pascal Couchepin and Transport and Energy Minister Moritz Leuenberger – is focusing on the future of a project that has been shaken by managerial problems and a marked lack of interest by Swiss industry, which is seen as the financial backbone of the exhibition.

The national project’s embattled Director-General Jacqueline Fendt was sacked a week ago amid allegations of management inadequacies. The decision was taken by the steering committee, which had been overseeing the work of Fendt and her team.

Fendt’s four co-directors had also called for her to go, saying the public as well as Swiss business had lost confidence in her.

Fendt, 46, enjoyed broad support when she took up her post. But two years later, there is a shortfall of funds, a marked lack of interest by businesses and a string of recent resignations that have raised questions about the future of the project.

Expo.01 spokesman Franz Egle accused Fendt of a problematic management style which had led to a general loss of confidence and which had endangered the future development of the project.

However, the sacked director-general rejected that criticism, saying she had built a team that worked well and had managed to get financial pledges from Swiss businesses totalling SFr590 million ($393 million).


From staff and wire reports.

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