photo of Chris Fesen

“Connections create energy.  Without energy, nothing moves, grows or transforms.”

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hi! I’m a curious marketeer with a passion for food, innovation, technology and sustainability.  I’ve worked in and around food for over 20 years and been fortunate to gain experience in Marketing, Sales and IT teams within B2B and B2C organisations in the USA and EMEA.  I have led marketing teams in the food business and seen the food business from both sides of the desk – as a brand owner and packaging supplier.  Most recently I served as Chief Product Officer for Ricola, Switzerland’s most trusted brand.      

Made and raised in the USA, I moved to Switzerland in 2011, ‘caught the bug’ and haven’t left.  At times it’s been wonderful and other times the ultimate test of resilience, but I believe growth rarely comes from the comfort zone. 

What motivated you to work for the Valley?

Early in my career I worked for a dot-com startup in Silicon Valley, New York City at the height of the dot-com boom in 2001. I loved it! I learnt by being very hands-on in roles from CEO to secretary and everything in between.  It was rewarding to be able to make a direct impact and influence change.  The energy, challenge and sky high opportunities made me look forward to Monday mornings.     

Looking ahead, I am eager to bring these unique experiences together to nourish an ecosystem where all Valley partners can see benefit in raising and growing successful, sustainable businesses to last for generations.  

Switzerland is known around the world for a focus on quality, trust and respect for each other and the environment, which makes it a special place…and a strong brand unto itself.

What are you working on at the moment?

Presently I am helping the SFNV team deliver more value to its Valley partners by developing a “Navigator” intended to make it easier for members to network, collaborate and prosper together.  

Switzerland is unique not only for its pristine majestic vistas but also as THE most fertile soil to start a business thanks to its healthy, stable economy and political system.  And we know from agriculture, it’s the soil that counts!  Add the Valley, an eclectic ecosystem of like-minded individuals and businesses all focused on designing the future of sustainable food production and human nutrition.  

Gentle sun and regular watering creates real magic!  Bright, ambitious, creative talents from the worlds of scientific research, higher education, multinational corporations, accelerators and startups to think, do and solve together.  I look forward to being a catalyst for that magic needed to create change.

What is your now-not-so-secret super power?

I’ve been told I am a good listener.  (After all that’s why we’re given 2 ears and 1 mouth…no?)   

Tell us something else we still don’t know about you.

My first word was ‘more’. And my favourite food is eggplant.