On September 1, 2019, David Studer, one of the three Xovis co-founders and CEO since day one, has handed over the CEO role to Andreas Fähndrich, formerly the Managing Director Airports for Xovis. After his first month as CEO, we talked to Andreas and asked him ten questions. He revealed what he once wanted to be, why he has become what he is today and where he wants to go in future.
Andreas, you’ve been CEO of Xovis since September 1, 2019. If we could ask your 10-year-old self “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, what would the answer be?
"I would have said “I want to be a pilot!”. Things have obviously panned out a little differently, but I’m very happy to be where I am today. I really enjoy constantly being able to do things that have never been done before and actively shaping success."
After just over a month as CEO, can you tell us a little bit about what you’ve been up to?
"We’re working on a lot of exciting things. New business units and subsidiaries are in the pipeline, and we really want to repeat our current success in these new areas. Part of Xovis’ culture is that we always question and reflect on what we do. We do a lot of things very well, but there’s always room for improvement, so we keep adapting and adjusting."
What do you think the turning point in your career was that led you to this position today?
"My decision to switch to a startup in 2011. Working for a startup involves everything from designing and developing to leading the company – and that really motivates me."
As Xovis Airports Managing Director, you led a team. Now, as CEO, you’re leading the whole company. For you, what are the most important qualities in a manager?
"They have to give all teams an inspiring mission, be a reliable role model, show integrity, challenge their employees and provide individual support."
Up until recently, travel has been part of your everyday life. Now, you’ll be spending more time in the office. Is this something you’re looking forward to, or are you already feeling the need to get back on an airplane?
"After years of hardly being in Switzerland for more than a week at a time, I’ve finally spent several weeks without so much as seeing an airplane, and so far, I don't have any withdrawal symptoms! I’m enjoying it and am delighted that I get to spend a lot more time in our offices."
You took over the position of CEO from David Studer. He is one of the Xovis founders and was the first CEO in the company’s history. Those are big shoes to fill! How did you prepare to step into such a prestigious role at Xovis?
"Expanding the airports business area of Xovis and the fact that the three founders continuously involved me in the overarching developments and issues of the company have prepared me very well. Plus, I can still rely on David Studer as a sparring partner since he has stayed on as a member of our Board of Directors."
From a three-person startup to an international technology company with around 100 employees in just 10 years, Xovis has shown impressive growth. How do you keep up?
"By ensuring that you develop in parallel with the needs of the business. As I see it, this development and momentum should continue in the future, and that’s the exciting thing about it all."
Things are moving forward rapidly. When you think about the coming year and all the tasks you have to face, what intimidates you most?
"I am not intimidated; basically, I have a healthy respect for everything that we do. What lets me sleep at night is knowing that we are prepared for what we do and that I can count on a great team."
Worldwide operations, fast growth and important decisions: how do you balance your personal life with your professional one?
"Spending time with my wife, being at home, hiking, skiing, going out on a boat, swimming, meeting up with friends or getting out for a run are the pastimes that I enjoy most."
Last but not least: why are you so passionate about people flow technology?
"As the population steadily increases and we become more mobile, people flow technology faces ever greater challenges. In many areas, digitalization is now very advanced, but for people flow, it’s still in the early stages. Our technology at Xovis is changing this, allowing available infrastructures to be used in a more efficient way. We are bridging the gap between the real, analog world and the digital world."
About Andreas Fähndrich
In 1999, Andreas Fähndrich completed an M.Sc. in Management, Technology and Economics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETHZ). During the first eight years after completing his studies, he held various positions in the consulting and IT industries; focusing on ERP systems, e-government and data warehousing/data logistics.
In 2007, Andreas entered the airport industry, where he held management positions in operations and strategic planning at Flughafen Zürich AG until 2011. After that, he decided to switch to a startup. From 2011 to 2015, Andreas was part of the development of BEONTRA AG up to and including the exit strategy. His focus was on sales and business development and he was an Executive Board member. The change to Xovis followed in 2015. Andreas worked there as Airports Managing Director before taking on the CEO role in September 2019.