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Yellow giant moved too slowly for Reto Braun

Monday's resignation of the head of the postal service, Reto Braun, is a sign that American-style restructurings do not necessarily spell success in Switzerland, according to industry analysts.

This content was published on January 11, 2000 - 14:08

Monday's resignation of the head of the postal service, Reto Braun, is a sign that American-style restructurings do not necessarily spell success in Switzerland, according to industry analysts.

Braun is leaving Swiss Post after only 16 months in office. He took over in the summer of 1998 after a scandal led to the resignation of the former head, Jean-Noël Rey. Braun spearheaded a series of reorganisations, restructurings and changes in services that bore the stamp of a man trained in American-style management techniques.

Included in the changes were the closure of small post offices, a reduction in certain services, a planned increase in postal rates and the introduction of a computer-run parcel post operation which has been plagued by problems.
Trade unions have described Braun's time in office as a catastrophe for the image of Swiss Post.

But Markus Gisler, the editor in chief of the business magazine, CASH, says that Braun himself was unhappy because he liked doing things the American way. "When he was in the United States, he got things through at a much faster pace. But at Swiss Post he realised he couldn't work at the speed he wanted."

Privatisation was also another issue, said Gisler. This put him at odds with the unions because privatisation meant lowering costs to get shareholder value and lowering costs meant staff reductions.

The man replacing Braun on an interim basis is Rudolf Hug of the Swiss Post board. "Mr. Hug was a brilliant manager at Credit Suisse and he's a very bright guy." Markus Gisler feels he is the right man to succeed.

By Paul Sufrin

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