Small Business

Family jewel— Geneva


While still a schoolgirl, Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele was representing her family firm Chopard and visiting clients including Imelda Marcos. With her brother and her parents actively involved, business is full of kindred spirits.

Chopard, family-business, watch

Before taking to the international stage, most managers will have been hardened by years of corporate climbing, a boardroom scuffle or two, and have an MBA tucked under their belt. Not so Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele, fourth generation of a Swiss-German watch and jewellery dynasty, and co-president of Chopard (which she co-manages alongside her brother, Karl-Friedrich).

“I was still at school when I was sent to Manila to represent the family,” she says, “and our regional chief was there to greet me with a red carpet and flowers. He looked at this girl…

The rules

01: What time do you like to be at your desk?
I’m more of a night person; I stay very late to work sometimes. My mornings are usually taken up doing 100 other tasks.

**02: Where’s the best place to prepare for leadership — an MBA school or on the job? **
Theories and doctorates do not automatically make you a good manager, you also need creativity and to be hands on.

**03: Describe your management style. **
Spontaneous. I’m very quick and I expect others to know what I’m thinking as I am thinking it, which can be a disadvantage. It means I’m creative at finding solutions, though.

**04: Are tough decisions best taken by one person? **
We run a democracy not a dictatorship, and all big decisions must be taken by the family. It works for us.

**05: Do you want to be liked or respected? **
For me they’re the same thing. I can’t like someone if I don’t respect them, and vice versa.

**06: What does your support team look like? **
I have a fantastic assistant who is my left and right hand, and often my head too. I also work closely with the high jewellery department – they’re all artists and have to be treated as such.

**07: What technology do you carry on a trip? **
Unfortunately my iPhone, BlackBerry, iPad, and my laptop… Sometimes I wish they hadn’t been invented; the world worked just fine before.

**08: Do you read management books? **
On and off – they can be interesting, but not in an abstract way, only where you are able to link the ideas to real solutions.

**09: Run in the morning? Wine with lunch? Socialise with your team after work? **
Run in the evening, as I’d rather have an extra sleep in the morning. Having a glass of wine with the team is important. We’re off to an evening Easter apéro after this – Dad says we need a company get-together.

**10: What would your key management advice be? **
It will seem odd me saying this, but choose a career you’re passionate about, rather than following duty. My parents were lucky that their children loved the industry, but you will never find success in an area you don’t care about.


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