Suzanne Thoma Interview with Suzanne Thoma, CEO BKW

For me, quality means providing the services that you have agreed to, and in a way that is satisfactory in every respect for all parties involved.

The first half of 2020 was marked by the Covid19 lockdown. Suzanne Thoma, CEO BKW Group*, describes in an interview how she built on normality and quality during this period

The BKW Group operates internationally as an energy and infrastructure company. How has the lockdown due to the pandemic affected your personal working methods?

Like many of our colleagues working on the customer front and on construction sites, I continued to be on site in the office. Despite the certainly extraordinary circumstances, I tried to maintain as much normality as possible. The extraordinary situation was also an opportunity: there has been a digitalisation push throughout the company and certain processes have been simplified. This primarily concerns formal procedures. What is more difficult, on the other hand, is informal exchange, which is also important for value creation.

How do you exchange information with your colleagues on the Executive Board?

Most of my colleagues from the Executive Committee were also on site. We held the meetings as usual - naturally in compliance with the hygiene and distance recommendations. If someone was in remote work, the connection via video conference worked well.

How do you communicate most often with your customers?

Direct contact with customers is very important to us. Accordingly, we did everything we could to maintain this during the Corona pandemic. Innovative solutions were quickly developed here, such as virtual workshops. We sensed a great deal of commitment and interest on the part of our customers here, which was naturally gratifying. We were helped by the fact that we had already systematically promoted digitalisation in virtually all areas of BKW before the crisis.

How do you motivate your 10,000 employees?

Regardless of the situation, working for us makes sense because we are active in areas that are important to people. We offer our employees interesting tasks and express appreciation for their commitment. During the Corona pandemic, it was particularly important for us to thank our employees for their commitment. For example, together with my colleagues from the Executive Committee, I addressed the entire workforce in a video.

How do you keep yourself fit?

I spend a lot of time outdoors and can walk to work.

How important is quality in crisis management?

Quality is already a central prerequisite for success in "normal" everyday business. In a crisis, it is particularly evident where it is present in sufficient measure and where it can still be improved. It is certainly easier to get through such times if you can build on something you have already achieved before.

What do you take with you for the period after the first wave of the pandemic?

On the one hand, an awareness of how strongly the economy and society go hand in hand. The economy is not only the motor for many developments, but also for social achievements. On the other hand, the pride that we as a company have been able to adapt quickly to the extraordinary circumstances and provide our services with the quality we are accustomed to. Now we have to transfer the lessons learned from the extraordinary situation into our everyday work and derive long-term benefits from it.

What does "quality" mean to you personally?

For me, quality means delivering the services that you have agreed upon and in a way that is satisfactory in every respect for all parties involved.


BKW Group

The BKW Group is an internationally active energy and infrastructure company headquartered in Berne. It employs some 10,000 people. Thanks to its network of companies and competencies, it offers its customers comprehensive end-to-end solutions. It plans, builds and operates energy production and supply infrastructures for companies, private individuals and the public sector, and offers digital business models for renewable energies. Today the BKW Group's portfolio ranges from planning and consulting engineering for energy, infrastructure and environmental projects, through integrated offerings in the field of building technology, to the construction, service and maintenance of energy, telecommunications, transport and water networks.

We use cookies and other tracking technologies to personalize and improve your experience. By continuing to use our website you consent to this.More info