On June 7th, we had the pleasure of welcoming Franz Steiger, CFO of Swiss Federal Railways, on the occasion of a C-Level Talk event organized by the Alumni organization of the Executive MBA University of Zurich. It means we were his guests, as the event took place at Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) premises.
During the event, Franz Steiger impressively demonstrated what a functioning SBB CFF FFS operation requires to offer its guests a reliable service day after day. SBB CFF FFS consists of six individual companies, divided into the areas of local/regional and long-distance transport, freight, infrastructure, energy, and real estate. The Energy division supplies power for the operation, the local/regional transport is ordered by the cantons, and the Infrastructure division ensures maintenance and the construction of new routes.
Like many companies in the service sector, the Covid-19 period was very challenging for SBB CFF FFS. Despite the significantly reduced mobility needs of the Swiss population, the Swiss government’s service mandate required SBB CFF FFS to maintain its services. Unsurprisingly, this put a significant financial strain on the company. Post Covid-19, energy prices have skyrocketed, and the currently rising interest rates continue to keep SBB CFF FFS on its toes.
In the second part of the event, we had the unique opportunity to walk underground from Langstrasse to Zurich’s main train station. We passed by high-voltage cables and gained further insights and background information into the complexity of SBB CFF FFS operations.
Afterwards, we all went to Bierwerk Züri at Europaallee for a beer.
A big thank you goes to Franz Steiger, Véronique Koethen, and Reinhard Vogelmann, who made this event possible for us.