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People-centric management: Ultimate art or illusion?

In partnership with the Global Peter Drucker Forum.
Leadership Meetings

Tuesday, 19 June 2018
16.30 - 20.30 Uhr, Zurich


For most leaders, good management, with people as its central concern, is both a necessary precondition and an aspiration – it’s the ultimate art. Yet, Peter Drucker, the founder of modern management theory and practice, unmistakably described current reality: "So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work." The gap is apparent. Between the good intent and management at scale in organisations, the ultimate art turns into an illusion. This reminds us of Sumantra Ghoshal’s warning in his influential 2005 essay, "Bad management theories are destroying good management practices". Other researchers added specifics to his point, the combination of prevalent agency theory, transaction cost theory, game theory, negotiation analysis and similar theories have resulted in dehumanized managerial practices. Top-down, hierarchical control and shareholder value obsession are only two of the outcomes. Recent management scandals are a testimony to the unintended but widely noticeable consequences. In the meantime, management theory and practice are moving on and continue to evolve. At the 2015 Global Drucker Forum, Henry Mintzberg, in his seminal remark, reminded us of this simple but often neglected truth "I’m not a human resource, not a human asset, and certainly not human capital. I’m a human being". There are visible signs that teamwork, self-organisation, collaboration, remote work, and blurred organisational boundaries are becoming the norm rather than the exception. It is no coincidence that the topic also gets a strong tail wind from the recent rise and recognition of behavioral economics. Richard Thaler winning last year’s Nobel prize in economics has the potential to mark an inflection point in the development of management theory and practice. Will "Homo oeconomicus" become "Homo sapiens" again ? Or, put another way, as Richard Straub, President and Founder of the Global Drucker Forum quotes Shagun Tripathi "What would robots do if humans took over?" This reminds us that our global economy, technological development, and business performance are not a given. They are the results of human choice. And so is good management.



Prof. Monika Bütler, Professor of Economics at the University of St.Gallen (HSG). Monika Bütler is full Professor of Economics at the University of St. Gallen (HSG). Her research areas are social security, job market, political economics and information economics. Besides her international research activity, she frequently participates in the public debate on economic and political issues. She is co-founder and publisher of the blog "", a forum for Swiss economic policy. Monika Bütler is a member of the Board of Directors of Schindler Holding AG and Huber & Suhner AG, a member of the Bank Council of the Swiss National Bank as well as Vice President of the Foundation Board of the Gebert Rüf Foundation.


Dr. Angelica Kohlmann, Chair Global Peter Drucker Forum Advisory Board, CEO Kohlmann & Co AG, niece of Peter Drucker. Angelica Kohlmann is Chairman Board of Directors Kohlmann & Co AG, which invests in technology start-ups and holds equity in companies in Europe and America, Chairman Board of Directors Flowerkid AG and Chairman Advisory Board Peter Drucker Society Europe. Angelica serves on a number of additional boards. She is a German-Brazilian citizen, holds an MD and doctorate in medicine from Hamburg University and is fluent in six languages.


Andrew Hill, Management Editor Financial Times. Andrew Hill is an Associate Editor and Management Editor of the "Financial Times". He writes a weekly column on business, strategy and management. His book "Leadership in the Headlines" was published in 2016. Since joining the FT in 1988, Andrew has worked in various roles, including editor of the daily Lombard column on British business and finance, Financial Editor, Comment & Analysis Editor, New York Bureau Chief, Foreign News Editor, and correspondent in Brussels and Milan. He was named Business Commentator of the Year 2016 in the Editorial Intelligence Comment Awards and Best Commentator at the 2009 Business Journalist of the Year Awards, where he also received the Decade of Excellence Award for sustained achievement in business and financial journalism.


Gerhard Fehr, Behavioral Economist, CEO of FehrAdvice & Partners. Gerhard is an applied Behavioral Economist and Executive Behavioral Designer. His personal mission is to motivate companies with inspiration to transform themselves to adopt an experimental culture. His passion: #Experimentability #BehavioralEconomics and #IrrationalLeadership – among these hashtags you will also find him in the most important (social)media. As a Behavioral Designer, he is a personal advisor to many politicians, boards of directors, CEOs and top corporate management. And last but not least: Gerhard seeks with FehrAdvice to become the European market leader in digitization and experimentation. Why? Because successful digitization seems to be very unlikely without experiments. 


Prof. Bill Fischer, Professor of Innovation Management at IMD. Bill Fischer co-founded and co-directs the IMD program on Driving Strategic Innovation, in cooperation with the Sloan School of Management at MIT and authors a regular column for entitled "The Ideas Business". An engineer by training, New Yorker by birth, Bill has lived much of his life in Asia and Europe. He has worked in innovation as a development engineer in industry, oversaw aerospace research projects, consulted for 17 years to the World Health Organization, was co-founder of a startup sold to Deloitte (and is presently on the Advisory Boards of two other startups), held an endowed chair at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1976 - 1998) and was the Executive President and Dean of the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) 1997 - 1999. Bill first moved to China in 1980. He has been at IMD for over 20 years. 


Dr. Zeno Staub, CEO Vontobel. Dr. Zeno Staub is Chief Executive Officer at Vontobel Group since May 2011. Having joined Vontobel in 2001 he went on to serve as its Chief Financial Officer until 2006. Prior to his current position he was Head of Asset Management and Head of Investment Banking. He started his career as a founding shareholder and managing partner of Almafin AG, working in consulting and software development with a focus on risk management, asset & liability management and legal reporting. He then moved to BZ Informatik AG (now avaloq) in 2000 as a member of the Executive Board. Zeno Staub studied economics at the University of St. Gallen, receiving his PH.D. in 1997. 



Arrival and welcome at Bank Vontobel, Gotthardstrasse 43, Zurich


Prof. Monika Bütler,
SMG Board
Professor of Economics at the University of St. Gallen (HSG)

Introduction and Outlook to Global Peter Drucker Forum 2018
Dr. Angelica Kohlmann,
Chair Global Peter Drucker Forum Advisory Board,
CEO Kohlmann & Co AG, niece of Peter Drucker


Statements and panel discussion
Prof. Monika Bütler, Professor of Economics at the University of St. Gallen ( HSG )
Gerhard Fehr, Behavioral Economist, CEO of FehrAdvice & Partners
Bill Fischer, Professor of Innovation Management at IMD
Dr. Zeno Staub, CEO Vontobel
Moderation: Andrew Hill, Management Editor Financial Times


Prof. Monika Bütler,
SMG Board, Professor of Economics at
the University of St. Gallen (HSG)

Invitation to drinks and “ Apéro riche ” for conversations among participants



Registration and fee

The number of participants is limited. Registrations will be considered in the order in which they are received and in consideration of sector representation.

Fee per person CHF 275.–. A confirmation of registration and invoice will follow.

Kindly take note that registrations are binding. A representative from the company management may attend if the original registrant is unable to attend at short notice. We are obliged to invoice in the event of cancellations without a stand-in and in case of no-shows.

Please note that photographs taken by our photographer will be displayed in SMG publi cations and on the SMG website. We should also like to point out that selected representatives from the media may also attend this event.

Members have the option of bringing a guest who meets membership conditions, once a year, at no cost.

The number of guests is limited. Registrations will be considered in the order in which they are received.

Guest information

Organisation & conception

Bank Vontobel
Gotthardstrasse 43,
8022 Zurich
Main entrance corner Gotthardstrasse/ Genferstrasse

Organisation & conception
Swiss Management Association SMG
Zeltweg 48, 8032 Zürich
office [at],
Telefon + 41 44 202 23 25
Fax + 41 44 269 90 01

Raymond Hofmann and Lukas Michel
Swiss Associates, Peter Drucker Society Europe


Bank Vontobel
Gotthardstrasse 43, 8022 Zurich
Main entrance corner
Gotthardstrasse/ Genferstrasse

Arrival by public transport
From the main station Bahnhofstrasse, take either tram no. 13 (to Albisgüetli) or tram no. 7 (to Wollishofen). Get out at the Tunnelstrasse Station stop. After an approx. 5-minute walk you will arrive at the venue, Bank Vontobel at Gotthardstrasse 43. 

Arrival by car
There will be no reserved parking spaces available. Arrival by public transport is recommended. 

Parking options
The nearest car parks are situated on Beethovenstrasse opposite the Mövenpick Palavrion Restaurant and in the Park Hyatt Hotel.

Routen-Planer: So finden Sie uns.

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