People 1 | 25 Years of the Swiss Economic Forum: Christine Maier

For ten years she was the defining face of the SEF as a presenter. Christine Maier made her debut appearance in 2004 in Thun. It was the former presenter of the Swiss daily news programme Tagesschau, Erich Gysling, who had recommended her as co-host to the two SEF founders Stefan Linder and Peter Stähli. “To this day I am still grateful to him – the Swiss Economic Forum was professionally and personally one of the best and most defining events that ‘happened’ to me in my career”, says Maier.

But also off-stage, Christine Maier helped the event to achieve the prestigious national reputation it still enjoys today: “I no longer recall whether it was right after the first SEF or a little later, when I ‘worked on’ the then editor-in-chief of Swiss television, Ueli Haldimann, to get him to cover the SEF in the same way as the WEF”, says Maier. “I was convinced that the Forum in Thun would interest the Swiss viewers more.” Since then, the Swiss TV channel SRF has reported on the SEF with countless live broadcasts and online posts.

The SEF has brought her many friendships and acquaintances with entrepreneurs, managers and politicians that have lasted until today, says the 58-year-old. During her career, Maier has spent more than 30 years facing the camera, was presenter and head of the “Club” on Swiss television's SRF, presented “10vor10” as well as programmes for the German TV channel ZDF. She was also editor-in-chief of the “SonntagsBlick” Sunday newspaper. “The synergies were of course really great for the ‘Club’”, says Maier. “At the SEF I would always think who I really had to invite and then the programme was ‘built around’ these guests.”

What many people do not know: Maier was also there at the start of one of the annual SEF highlights – the Spaghettata, an informal, culinary get-together of company managers. “Word had got around that Peter Stähli, Stefan Linder, Erich Gysling, the director and I would always go out for dinner together on Wednesday for the closing discussions after the final rehearsal”, says Maier. “At first, close friends wanted to join us, then it kept growing – until something big emerged.”

Maier, who now offers communications consulting for executives and coaching sessions, helping others to make a convincing impression, wishes the SEF “good luck and enjoyment” during and after its anniversary. And she has just one wish for the future: ten years down the line, the SEF should not be held only in the Metaverse.

Recorded by Mirko Plüss