Prix Gaïa 1993 – André Margot. Entrepreneurship category
He won recognition for the quality of his 10-year (1983-1993) commitment at the head of the Federation of the Swiss watch industry, of which he restructured and strengthened the activities as an umbrella company following the merger with the Swiss Chamber of Watchmaking.
- President of the Federation of the Swiss watch industry
After obtaining a forestry engineer diploma from ETH Zurich, he worked as an assistant in forestry politics and economics before he was appointed the Forestry Inspector of the Grandson district.
However, his career rapidly took another turn when family circumstances led him to the watch industry. At first, he binded his fate as director to Nouvelle Fabrique Election SA in La Chaux-de-Fonds. After that, he was appointed the director and, some time later, executive director at Portescap, in the same city.
The 3 laureates : Jean-Claude Nicolet, André Margot and Henri-Louis Belmont
The management of a company with 1000+ employees and its complex activities meant that at every level of his multiple contacts, he had the means to represent strongly and convincingly the interests of not only leading actors of watchmaking but also SMEs with products of widespread fame. Since he had a rich professional experience, he was elected and appointed President of the Federation of the Swiss watch industry in 1983. He was considered the best candidate for the position because apart from his professional knowledge of the industrial world, he was experienced in negotiation problems as he was part of the Committee of the Employers' Federation. He was also a member of the Employers' Association of Watch Manufacturers, of which he was the head from 1979 to 1982, of the Swiss Federation of Trade Unions and of the Vorort of the Swiss Chamber of Commerce in Zurich.
During his time as president of the Swiss Watch Federation, Margot had to tackle integration and reorganization issues as well as cut back on central organization.
Even though he had to deal with all kinds of pressure ranging from the resignation of leading watch groups to the scheming of a rebel movement, André Margot managed to reach the end of his mandate on a successful note in 1993. Indeed, his successor took over the reins of a solid and performing Federation that represented the entire Swiss watch industry which had finally reestablished its position on the international market. After ten years at the head of the Federation, the results of his work were highly positive.
To top it off, he was also appointed as the permanent Committee Chairman of European Horology.
At the time of his retirement, Margot left the industrial world but clearly continued to take a keen interest in the evolution of the Swiss watchmaking industry.