40 Years SEC: Origin and History of the Senior Expert Contact (SEC)
SEC was celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2019. To showcase the history of SEC, we illustrate its highlights on a timeline. Browse through exciting contributions related to our anniversary of years of existence.
- October 2019: Senior Expert Corps – the way it all began
- April 2019: 25 years of SEC in Nepal
- February 2019: Interview with Margrit Tappolet, SEC Project Manager from 1998 until 2004 (in German)
The Senior Expert Corps (SEC), an initiative of management consultant Heini Stettbacher and Swissair pilot Theo Schwarzenbach, was initially implemented by Swisscontact for a trial period of two years.
Article by H.E. Stettbacher on the founding of SEC in 1979 (German)
Caption: H.E. Stettbacher as an expert at the NEC, NTTF Electronics Center in Bangalore, India.
Excerpt of the interview with Theo Schwarzenbach, initiator SEC, on the founding of SEC in 2007 (10 min., German)
The first assignments are promising, and the echo is positive: SEC is permanently continued in 1983.
SEC presents itself as follows:
- 10 to 15 assignments per year.
- 180 retired specialists in the database.
- Hans Schneider is the director of operations and likewise a retired expert.
- Swisscontact provides finances and infrastructure.
Pioneers of SEC
The 20th anniversary is celebrated with 300 guests.
- 106 consultancy assignments per year: 90% for SMEs and 10% for training institutions.
- SEC is further expanded.
- SEC goes East with the Eastern Europe program financed by SDC.
Caption: Cartoon by Nico, 1999
Senior experts in action – a film with Elsbeth Fopp and Alois Russheim from 1999. (German)
Assignments primarily with SMEs
Retired professionals advise SMEs
- in the preparation of business plans, in marketing,
- in the development and introduction of new products and services,
- in the improvement of product design and quality,
- in operational planning and cost control,
- in training staff.
Article “Mission Poverty Reduction” in the NZZ on 29.09.2004 (German)
Caption: SEC expert Giuseppe Bazzani on assignment in Peru.
GUATEMALA – a market for cheese – a film with Albert Ottiger from 2004. (German)
13th Senior Expert Service (SES) World Conference in Zurich in 2007
SES World Conference in Zurich (German)
Focus country Nepal
A third of the SEC assignments take place in Nepal. The assignments contribute primarily to the creation and preservation of jobs.
Caption: SEC expert Maja Ilg in a felt assignment in Nepal.
NEPAL – Felt flourishes – a film with Maja Ilg from 2004. (German)
An external evaluation in 2012 shows that the consulting assignments of senior experts make an important contribution to companies.
Results of the 2012 evaluation
The external evaluation demonstrates that SEC achieves sustainable positive outcomes with the SMEs it advises. The following modifications were observed in the SMEs advised by SEC experts:
- 49% increased their profits.
- 39% created new jobs.
- 82% registered a general improvement in quality.
- 77% indicated sustainable improvements of their employees’ know-how.
- 77% were more competitive in the market.
External return study
A study on the experts’ return confirms that the senior experts have high-level cultural competences and play an important role in raising awareness in Switzerland.
Caption: SEC expert Josef Böhni on a consultancy assignment in Panama in 2014.
3 372 assignments since its inception
The initial idea of promoting SMEs with retired consultants has proved to be worthwhile and continues to gain popularity.
Graph of assignments by year, 1979-2018
Graph of assignments by continent, 1979-2018
Graph of assignments by year and continent, 2007-2018
Caption: SEC expert Thomas Wiederkehr in a consulting assignment at a printing company in Kosovo in 2018.