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Publication date: 15 February 2021

Roland Kümin is much more than a proven professional in building and managing tech companies. Roland lives and works in Switzerland and Vietnam and holds a degree in Technology Management from the Zürich University of Applied Sciences. His career focused on sales management in international companies such as Parametric Technology or SAS Institute, along with the companies he founded, Monzoon Networks and Actano. Roland lived and worked in Silicon Valley for several years and is very familiar with the Anglo-Saxon business culture, its peculiarities, and the unique American spirit. 

Roland’s passion today is the new digital world and the technologies that help companies compete successfully in a global environment. “Bilanz”, the Swiss business magazine, named Roland Kümin as one of the hundred most important “digital shapers” influencing and driving economic change in Switzerland. Today, Roland is the new Country Head of Switzerland at HICO-Group.

Hello Roland, great to have you on board! HICO-Group welcomes you warmly and, of course, a little bit curious. Who is Roland Kümin, what drives you in the morning, what is your WHY?

There was once a famous advertising campaign in Switzerland, “Upswing starts in the head”. I take time in the morning to think about what I want to achieve today. The desire to discover something new and the urge to make an entrepreneurial difference is what drives me.

You’re a technology expert. How does one become an entrepreneur?

Yes, I have a university degree in Technology Management from ZHAW Zürich. That suits me because my discipline is thinking. And that’s the bridge to your last question: I think we should all think much more about WHY. Because that’s the foundation of every entrepreneurial thinker. And I think most people have an entrepreneur gene in them. You just have to take that latent knowledge and make it conscious. 

A Swiss with a great job in Silicon Valley. What drew you back to Switzerland?

My career path has taken me to tech companies for most of the last thirty years, where I kept learning, including in Silicon Valley. I was very successful there. And one day I had a dream: I want to give something back to Switzerland. I want Switzerland to keep up with the dynamic changes in the economy. On this path, I want to help and be part of it. My family and the proverbial Swiss quality of life were then the tipping point for my decision to return to Switzerland.

Your family was one of the triggers?

Home is where the heart is. I have a large family and am a grandfather of three. 

Congratulations! Your CV says that you are a cosmopolitan and live and work in Switzerland and Vietnam. When was the last time you were in Vietnam?

The last time I was in Vietnam was on a four-week trip in March 2020. I then returned safely to Zürich on the last plane that was still flying to Europe, a hair’s breadth before the worldwide lockdown… Some guys have all the luck!

We know you like to hike, ski, and play golf to relax. What is your handicap?

Golf! It has been stagnating at 28 for years. It’s a good thing I don’t play golf as a competitive sport, but as a balance and to cultivate friendships. I try to enjoy those unique moments outdoors, in nature.

In 3 words, who is Roland Kümin?

Never say never!

Who and what has inspired you in your life?

Life has inspired me. I once realized that the harder you work, the luckier you are in life. I like to be inspired by countless unconventional personalities like Richard Branson or Mark Twain, who once said: “They did not know it was impossible so they did it.”

What attracted you to the job of Country Manager (Switzerland) at HICO-Group?

HICO is a gem, a hidden champion with a team of highly motivated and experienced specialists. As a learning organization, HICO has considerable economic potential. With my experience and personality, I can contribute to HICO becoming a well-known champion. Let’s let the public and stakeholders know that now! Let’s do it!

Look 5 years ahead. Where will HICO Switzerland be in 5 years?

In five years, HICO Switzerland will be one of the market leaders in business intelligence because it is a learning, intelligent company.

What do you wish for this year?

I want to be in Switzerland, in the money and in love.

What do you not enjoy at all?

Long phone calls. Try me!

Which attribute of yours is unknown to many?

I would have become a successful musician, too.

What is your advice for getting through this year healthy and well?

I once read that successful entrepreneurs have a kind of lucky gene. As the saying goes, you are the maker of your own luck. So my motto is, “Always give yourself a chance to get lucky.” And a good cup of green tea.

Thank you very much, Roland. I wish you a good start. All the best and above all, good health! 

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