Cornelia Ritz Bossicard is the Founder and Managing Partner of 2bridge AG – a sparring partner for corporate governance with the aim to build bridges between stakeholders. She serves on a variety of Boards of multinational companies and chairs the Audit Committee of a retail and food company listed on the Swiss stock exchange.
Prior to founding 2bridge AG, Cornelia had worked as an auditor and senior advisor with one of the Big Four accounting firms, both in Switzerland and the Silicon Valley. Cornelia has over 22 years of international experience as Director and senior advisor to executives and board members of companies ranging from start-ups to multibillion-dollar multinationals in the technology, industrial products, retail and consumer, wholesale, and professional services industries. Finance Monthly speaks to her about her company 2bridge AG and current trends in corporate governance.
Can you tell us a bit about 2bridge AG?
2bridge AG is a sparring partner for corporate governance with the aim to build bridges between stakeholders.
On the one hand, we act as independent sparring partner for investors, board members and executive management, on the other hand we passionately share our experience through lectures and workshops.
2bridge AG is based in Switzerland and focuses on companies in industries where we have extensive international experience, namely technology, retail and wholesale, food, industrial production, and professional services.
What do you mean by “sparring partner for corporate governance”?
Most of the investors, board members and executives I work with are well educated on corporate governance and have lead companies successfully in the past. My role is to support them navigate through the maze of information and options, help align stakeholder interests and provide them with an independent point of view on how to tailor their organizations’ corporate governance to the changing environment and to stay fit for the future.
What’s the history behind 2bridge AG?
Building bridges has always been one of my passions. I contemplated studying civil engineering to build bridges between valleys, but then decided to study business administration to build bridges between people.
Two years ago, I decided to realize my entrepreneurial aspirations and to set up my own company. The name, 2bridge reflects well what is important to me and my conviction in companies performing better when people work together towards a common goal.
Can you share some trends you see in corporate governance?
It is becoming more complex for investors, boards of directors, and executives to stay agile in the market and navigate their organizations through uncertain and dynamic times.
Today, tried-and-tested business models are suddenly disrupted; markets and competition are becoming more digital and global.
For example, Artificial intelligence (AI) as ‘predicting machines’ coupled with human judgment will lead to quicker and smarter decision making at a lower cost. It is not a question if AI tools will enable enhanced performance against strategy and lead to a change in strategy, but when they will do so and to what extent.
As a result, new skills and a more dynamic and iterative strategy and risk management process are required.
Good corporate governance becomes increasingly important for building trust. It is not only important what companies do but also why and how they do it. As studies show, trust drives value and investment decisions. Therefore investors and other stakeholders do pay more attention to corporate governance.
Corporate governance is sometimes perceived to be limited to compliance, as there is a number of applicable legislation, regulation, voluntary commitments and business practices. I often hear from board members that most time is spent on compliance matters and that there is not much room for strategy and other important discussions. Compliance is important, but it is the role of the chair to set a balanced agenda to mitigate risks and take advantage of opportunities.
How has your former auditor’s background prepared you for your current role?
My years as Audit Director and Senior Advisor with one of the Big Four accounting firms have taught me the importance of being a sparring partner and trusted advisor to my clients. Over the years, I gained extensive experience in financial reporting, mergers and acquisitions, risk management, financing, audits and corporate governance. In addition to my financial expertise, I built a broad, global retail, technology and industrial experience, international market know how and strive to continuously learn and improve.
As Henry Ford said, ‘Coming together is the beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.’