Two firsts to renew the Geneva Chamber of Commerce

The statutes of the Geneva Chamber of Commerce and Industry impose it: its managers are required to organize a general meeting in the first half. Its 3,000 members met on Monday to elect a new president. Given that the average attendance at these meetings is 800 people, it was necessary to build an infrastructure that guarantees robustness and security of the votes. It was Cryptolex, a Geneva-based company, which provided it, by securing the operation via the blockchain.

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Change of heads at the Geneva Chamber of Commerce

This first innovation brought another: for the first time since its foundation in 1865, the CCIG is chaired by a woman. Laurence de la Serna, patron of the Jean Gallay company (200 employees, specialized in aeronautics) and member of the CCIG board, succeeds Gilles Rufenacht, director of the La Colline and des Grangettes clinics, who becomes vice-president. Vincent Subilia remains the director.

We remember: the duo had conquered the CCIG in these particular circumstances. The outgoing president and the current director had convinced his members to choose them when Juan Carlos Torres, who held both offices, had no intention of leaving. The prospect of voting on RFFA had generated tensions which the ex-watchmaker eventually paid the price for.

An initial victory

At the time of the annual review, this vote weighs with all its weight. “Starting with a victory made it possible to launch a virtuous circle,” says Gilles Rufenacht. In the governance of the institution, the duo brought “a grooming” in order to “make the Chamber more participative”. Working groups on sustainable development and the future of retail, led by members, have led to concrete projects which the 30 employees are now carrying out. The role of the CCIG, he insists, has not changed: supporting the regional economy and helping companies to develop their business. “Conducting a constructive dialogue with the authorities, being able to influence policies and having the ear of the Council of State remains essential,” continues Gilles Rufenacht. I can say that the dialogue is good and that our proposals are heard. ”

The Geneva Council of State, in addition to the Federal Council, has in fact taken measures to support the small self-employed in particular during the coronavirus crisis. But they are not enough, according to the CCIG which sent a letter to the cantonal government to extend this aid to the self-employed who earn more than 90,000 francs per year, facilitate the flow of cross-border workers and support employers who are also employed by their own SMEs. . “We must be the trusted partner of our members for the end of this crisis,” says Vincent Subilia.

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Temporary paralysis

The coronavirus has an impact on the finances of the CCIG but its director has chosen not to use partial unemployment measures, “in order to embody the example”. Tasks have been reallocated internally so that a team specializes in solving the problems posed by Covid-19 to contractors, such as administrative procedures for obtaining assistance. “The Geneva economy is in a state of temporary paralysis,” continues Vincent Subilia. The hospitality sector, which forms a significant part of our cantonal GDP, has been hit hard. The findings are alarming, but the extent of the social disruption will depend on the duration of the crisis. “

During this crisis, the first urgency was to “find solutions so that the economic fabric remains alive, by representing the companies near the political authorities”, underlines Gilles Rufenacht. Secondly, it will focus on the role of accelerator of the local economy that the CCIG fulfills. One of its activities is the organization of meetings and conferences. Will it still be possible after Covid-19? “It will be a question of proposing innovative events so that our members use us as leverage,” replies the director. In 2023, the CCIG will organize the World Congress of Chambers of Commerce, announces the latter. Hopefully it can be organized at Palexpo in conditions close to those before the crisis.

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