Interview with Beat Scherrer, Scherrer Metec AG, Switzerland

PICTURE: In 2012, Scherrer Metec AG developed and mounted the whole facade and roof of the Mountain restaurant Arosa Weisshorn at 2653 m.a.s.l.; Architects: Tilla Theus & Partner AG, Zürich (Photo Credit: zuegerpix)

The Scherrer family has been in the roofing material, metal, and façade business for the past 120 years. In 1896, founder Jakob Scherrer took a leap of faith and set up his own plumbing and roofing workshop in Zurich. The second generation brought brothers Ernst and Jacob Scherrer to the fore. They were very successful in the 1940s and, as a result, almost every well-known building in Zurich bears the Scherrer signature. Decades of innovation later, the business underwent a strategic realignment. In 2004, it was divided into Scherrer Metec AG and Cupolux AG. Headed by Beat Scherrer, fourth generation descendant of the founder, the Scherrer name still stands as one of Switzerland’s proudest family businesses, though many changes are ahead. Tharawat spoke to Beat Scherrer about roofs, realignment, and retirement.

Were you always interested in joining the family business?

It was always clear to me that I wanted to be a part of the family firm. I started in the business 33 years ago, when my father and uncle were in charge. When the time came, things went very fast. About 5 years after joining, leadership was handed to me.

Is an early and quick transition usual practice?

Yes, it is. I think a great part of our family’s success is that we always made sure the company was in young hands. The next generation always got a shot at it early on. No one ever held on until death. It is also part of the industry culture. People in construction get tired. It’s an exhausting job, so retiring early is a good idea.

Scherrer - Moving On
Image courtesy of Scherrer Metec AG


PICTURE: Beat Scherrer, Scherrer Metec AG, Switzerland (Photo Credit: zuegerpix)

Does early retirement apply to you as well?

Yes. Next year, on the 120th company anniversary, I will turn 60 and will retire. I represented the 4th generation of the family. There will not be a fifth. There is no family successor.