Engineering a profit with an Executive MBA

Written by Catherine Hickley

Hans Keist, CEO of Carl Heusser AG. Photo: Juerg Vonwil/jvpictures.com
Hans Keist, CEO of Carl Heusser AG. Photo: Juerg Vonwil/jvpictures.com
Hans Keist took over as CEO of Carl Heusser AG at an exciting time. In 2014, when he joined, the company sold construction machinery and pumps. In the past three years, he has overseen a complete transformation – including the purchase and the integration of a small company and a major restructuring.

Now Carl Heusser AG, based in Cham, focusses purely on water technology; pumps, mixers and treatment; the company employs 60 and operates Switzerland-wide.
Keist attributes his success in managing the transformation in part to the Executive MBA he earned at Strathclyde University (Glasgow) after a two-year part-time programme he took at its Swiss campus in Zurich, ending in 2010. Keist focussed on corporate strategy and wrote his thesis on “organisational behaviour” in the context of mergers and acquisitions, using three separate companies as examples.
“I don’t think it would have been possible to take on this job without the Executive MBA,” he says. He learned how to better analyse and master challenges – whether political, psychological or structural. “I now have the ability to identify where a shoe is rubbing and how to remove the pressure,” he says.

“Constantly curious”
Keist’s previous posts include Managing Director of Burckhardt Components AG in Winterthur, shortly after it was founded in a merger – a role that also required major post-merger integration alignment to streamline and synchronise two separate companies. The company turned a profit in 2014, two years after he joined.
After training as an engineer in Lucerne and Zurich, Keist worked for many years at Sulzer Chemtech AG, with stints in Canada and Singapore, where he successfully founded an Asian outpost of the company. Later appointed global head of Mixing and Reaction Technology, he was in charge of three regional centres in the US, Switzerland and Shanghai. “I was constantly curious and was given more and more responsibilities,” he says.
His term at Carl Heusser will end this year and Keist is not yet sure what he will do next. He would like to apply his international experience and knowledge of foreign cultures again by working for a Swiss company that exports abroad, either as CEO or in market development.

Publication date: 26 October, 2017