Meet our new CEO, Sebastien Hug!

Sebastien Hug joined swissnex India as CEO and Consul General from November 2017. Know more about his vision for swissnex in the next 4 years.

Tell us about your journey so far. 

My journey started in the second coldest capital of the world, in Ottawa, Canada, where I worked for almost five years at the Swiss Embassy as a Science Counselor. To escape the Canadian winter (with temperatures up to – 35 degrees!), I moved south to Massachussets, USA, to work for swissnex Boston as a Project Leader. Not only were the winters a little better, but I also gained an insight into one of the world’s leading technology hubs, which was a life changing phase for me. After the birth of our first daughter, we wanted to be closer to family and moved to Bern, where I worked at the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Education, in charge of coordinating the swissnex Network. This gave me yet another inside perspective on the swissnex Network. After four years, I was looking to go “on the field” again and, so here I am, very excited and curious to dive into another leading global innovation hotspot!

You’ve known swissnex India closely. What has been your perception and what’s your vision for the next four years?

Indeed, I’ve followed from far away swissnex India’s development and have seen not only increasing activities and a growing team, but more importantly a team with an in-depth subject matter expertise and knowledge of the Indian as well as the Swiss innovation ecosystems. Thanks to my predecessors, swissnex India has evolved from being a startup to becoming an establisehd player and driver of Indo-Swiss relations in education, research and innovation – yet, remaining entrepreurial and creative like a startup. In the next four years, I would like to build on these strenghts, identify new areas of activities where our expertise and experience can make an impact.

What about India appeals to you?

There is so much to discover in India! From a very dynamic entrepreneurial scene in Bangalore with lots of interesting people from various backgrounds to a very rich and diverse culture with a long history. It would be hard to list all the things I would like to learn about India! On a more personal note, my wife’s mother grew up in Karnataka and so for her and my two daughters, it will also mean discovering their roots!

How do you see the collaboration between Switzerland and India booming in the coming years?

Over the last couple of years, my predecessors and the swissnex Team have already connected many dots between Switzerland and India, and Bangalore in particular… but there remains a lot of potential. I think swissnex’s role will be to constantly explore new, creative avenues for collaboration and exchange. For instance, we have some potential in the continuing education sector as well as in the field of Vocational Education Training. I’d like to expand our corporate partnership to help them scout new technologies and trends in India, and to understand India’s approach to innovation. At the same time, Switzerland has to offer a lot to our Indian partners and as we have seen with the recent Switzerland Innovation Tour, Indian investors show a keen interest on Swiss technologies and expertise as well. Last but not least, I think the Indo-Swiss collaboration will be strengthened through other partner institutions, such as the ZHAW Leading House for the bilateral Indo-Suisse research cooperation.