©MCH Group
©MCH Group
  • hc / dl / dt
  • Aktualisiert am

Local News Summary of August, 4th

  • MCH Group CEO René Kamm resigns
  • Cantonal police of Basel-Stadt arrest eight people who occupied Gaswerk area
  • Low water levels in Birs and Wiese: cantonal authorities advise against swimming


MCH Group CEO René Kamm resigns

The CEO of trade fair operator, MCH Group, which runs the Baselworld watch exhibition, has resigned. The news comes a week after a major watch brand announced it was pulling out of the annual watch and jewellery trade fair.

The resignation of René Kamm was announced by the board of directors at MCH as part of a «fundamental transformation phase» within the company. In a statement issued on Friday, the board said Mr Kamm «jointly and amicably» arrived at the conclusion that the right time had come for a change at the management level.

Mr Kamm will hand over his responsibilities and will remain available to the company in an advisory capacity, if required, over the coming months. Ulrich Vischer, chairman of the board of directors, will take over the operational management during the transitional period until a successor is found.

Baselworld has been dealt with several blows already this year when it lost half of its exhibitors. Swatch, the last remaining big exhibitor, caused a storm last weekend by announcing they were also pulling out. Swatch boss Nick Hayek had told MCH via the «NZZ am Sonntag» newspaper that the group would turn its back on the watch exhibition.

Harsh criticism

In the article, he also did not hold back on criticism, claiming the MCH Group had “not involved the exhibitors sufficiently in the development of the new concept”.

“MCH lacks the courage for far-reaching changes,” he added. As a reaction to these statements, investors sold vast quantities of their MCH shares. With nearly all of its 18 brands present and a trade fair budget of over 50 million Swiss francs, Swatch had remained the largest exhibitor at Baselworld to date.

Even if this announcement did not put the continuing existence of Baselworld at risk, the withdrawal of this important exhibitor had raised questions about the consequences for the group's earnings development, MCH wrote. The Swatch group's decision not to exhibit at Baselworld as of next year will have an impact on the 2019 net result, the full extent of which cannot so far be estimated.

Another write-off of the exhibition hall in Basel could also become necessary. As early as in 2017, the decline of the importance of Baselworld – a central pillar of MCH's business – had pushed the trade fair operator into the red for the first time in its history. As a result of the economic shrinkage at Baselworld, MCH had to write off over 100 million francs on its exhibition building.

Mr Kamm had begun his career as exhibition manager of Baselworld. All in all, he worked for Messe Basel, Messe Schweiz and the MCH Group for almost 20 years, and had been CEO of MCH since 2003.

Cantonal police of Basel-Stadt arrest eight people who occupied Gaswerk area

Eight young people have been arrested after they gained access to a the locked Gaswerk area next to the Stücki shopping centre and parked a construction vehicle on the site.

Following a complaint made by a tenant in the area, the cantonal police approached the squatters and asked them to identify themselves and to leave the area immediately. When they refused to do so, they were arrested. The young people are now facing criminal charges for trespassing and damage to property.

Low water levels in Birs and Wiese: cantonal authorities advise against swimming

The public are asked not to swim in the Birs and Wiese rivers as water levels continue to fall due to the heatwave. The current temperature remains constant above 30 degrees Celsius and this can be catastrophic for the local fish population.

To protect the fish, the cantonal government of Basel has issued a request that people do not swim in the two rivers during this time.