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Out of Office: Carl Elsener Jr.

Notes for the modern business traveller from the CEO of Victorinox Swiss Army.

Carl Elsener Jr.

At the helm of the Swiss company founded by his great-grandfather in 1884, Carl Elsener Jr. has branched out from the iconic soldier’s knife. The family business, which produces over 25 million pocket tools per year, launched its North American flagship store in Toronto last June. And it’s now honing its edge in China and South America, where the outdoor lifestyle continues to grow.

1. In my carry-on you’ll find printed – not digital! – photographs of my family.

2. The biggest risk I ever took Climbing in the Alps in extreme conditions with my two young daughters. There were times when I thought I couldn’t continue, but their courage motivated me to reach the top.

3. Best place for a business lunch Eleven Madison Park in New York City, run by Swiss native Daniel Humm, who uses local ingredients with Swiss influences.

4. My business mantra You can’t go wrong if you care about your employees, satisfy your customers and do things with passion.

5. What I had to learn on the fly I addressed the employees without a script at the age of 20 – my father’s idea. I spoke from the heart then as I do now.

6. Always listen to your intuition.

7. In business, now’s a good time to put money aside so you can invest in a recession.

8. My eureka moment Watching my father with an employee upon his retirement. They both had tears in their eyes, and I realized how important it is to build a culture based on mutual trust and respect.

9. My go-to gadget My Victorinox Slim USB stick. It folds out like a regular Swiss Army tool but comes with up to 64 GB of memory.

10. Window or aisle? Window. The moment I see the Swiss Alps, I feel at home.




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