Hospitality Industry

Conversation with Laurent Gagnebin - CEO of Rothschild & Co Bank AG

Produced by

EHL Alliance

The EHL Alliance has created an innovative series of insightful podcasts with Communications Consultant Michael McKay that examine and explore the best of new ideas – giving voice to acknowledged leaders, practitioners and original thinkers - originating from inside the hospitality industry and business sectors close to it.



Laurent Gagnebin

Chief Executive Officer at Rothschild & Co Bank AG


In an increasingly digitized and fast-paced world, it's very easy to forget the importance of face-to-face interactions, yet they are the foundation of a successful business.

Our guest, Laurent Gagnebin, explains how human relationships are still essential in the banking and hospitality industries. Gagnebin leads Rothschild & Co Bank AG, a Swiss multinational group specializing in asset management and private banking. 

He is based in Zurich and Geneva, and in this interview, Gagnebin discusses his views on the connection between banking and hospitality and the importance of customer service.


    Subsidiaries of Rothschild & Co Bank AG

    Rothschild & Co Bank AG has its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, and offers clients private banking and wealth management services.

    Their parent company, Rothschild & Co, has other subsidiaries and offices worldwide, including Europe, Asia, the Americas, and the Middle East. These subsidiaries and offices provide various financial services, including asset and wealth management, investment banking, and private banking.

    What Is the Connection Between Banking and the Hospitality Industry?

    Laurent Gagnebin explains that the banking and the hospitality sectors are quite similar businesses since they involve looking after clients. Having worked in the hospitality industry before hopping into private banking, he keenly understands the similarities and setbacks in running both businesses. 

    Gagnebin explains that the dynamism and flexibility in the industry have given it the ability to respond quickly to customers' changing needs. He explains the importance of retaining client relations and how this can be achieved by understanding their wants and needs.

    While both businesses focus on caring for clients, the hospitality industry offers short-term client contracts. You will only interact with your clients for a few days or weeks. However, with banking, you can look after your clients and their families for decades. 

    Is Transitioning Between Hospitality and Banking Common?

    As Gagnebin notes, transitioning between hospitality and banking was rare and challenging back in the day. "I remember 20 years ago, I had a hard time transitioning from the hospitality industry to banking". However, he further explains how this transition has become more common and easier, especially among graduates hired at Rothschild & Co Bank AG. 

    Individuals prepared to develop new skills and knowledge easily transition between the hospitality and banking industries. They also tend to succeed in their new role with minimal setbacks.

    Factors that Make Rothschild & Co Stand Out Over Its Competitors

    Rothschild & Co has a long history and reputation for providing high-quality services to clients. In the conversation, Laurent Gagnebin notes that clients continue to maintain their loyalty to the rand due to the following reasons:

    • Stability 

    "Rothschild & Co has been in business for over 200 years and has operated in Switzerland for over 50 years". The firm has a deep understanding of the global financial markets and a long history of successful deal-making, which gives it a unique perspective and experience.

    • Global Reach

    He further notes that Rothschild & Co has a global network of offices and subsidiaries in major financial centers worldwide. For this reason, the company can provide expertise and support to clients and other entrepreneurs worldwide.

    • Independence

    Rothschild & Co is an independent firm not tied to any specific bank or financial institution, allowing it to provide unbiased advice and recommendations to clients. This independence is essential in complex financial transactions where conflicts of interest may arise.

    Type of businesses Rothschild & Co-Operate

    Laurent Gagnebin states, "As a global multinational financial company, we have close to 4000 employees and three main businesses". He further explains these businesses in detail. These businesses include: 

    1. Financial Advisory: Rothschild & Co provides financial advisory services to clients in mergers and acquisitions, debt and equity capital markets, restructuring, and private capital advisory. The firm has a reputation for providing independent and objective advice to clients and is often involved in some of the most significant and complex transactions.
    2. Merchant Banking: Rothschild & Co has a merchant banking division that invests in and supports the growth of mid-sized companies across different industries. The firm provides capital, strategic advice, and operational support to help companies achieve their growth objectives.
    3. Wealth and Asset Management: "We provide wealth and asset management services to individuals and institutions." The firm manages investments across different asset classes and provides customized investment solutions to meet the unique needs of its clients.

    The Importance of Relationships in Banking

    Laurent notes that a banker should be more than a relationship. While clients want a close relationship with their financial advisors, they also want good performance, a proactive attitude, and good investments.

    Overall, relationships are essential in the banking industry. Laurent further notes that as a client financial advisor, you should proactively give ideas and advice on potential issues affecting your client's financial state.

    The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Financial Market

    Despite the challenges experienced during the pandemic, many people have become wealthier. This is especially true among individuals who invested in the markets during the pandemic.

    Also, the government has been able to chip in by providing monetary and physical help. As a result, there has been a lot of liquidity in the markets, which has pushed up the asset prices with zero interest rates, particularly in Switzerland.

    What Are Your Views on the Future of Rothschild & Co?

    Laurent Gagnebin states that the primary strategy of Rothschild & Co is to grow investment banking in the United States. "We want to develop new solutions into the private markets because we feel it is a trending topic, especially among entrepreneurs who like investing in private companies."

    "We also want to keep growing Europe's wealth and asset management business." Several upcoming businesses exist in Madrid, Italy, Germany, and France. We will continue our strategy to grow our brand in the coming years.

    With customers increasingly looking to technology-based solutions instead of person-to-person interactions, Mr. Gagnebin believes that human interactions will still be important when offering customized services and an experience that is unique and unforgettable.

    Educate Yourself More With EHL

    The banking and hospitality sectors are still growing globally, and you will need more knowledge, skills, and experience with the high-level competition from both industries. 

    While not all skills are teachable through experience, seeking more educational resources and services would be an excellent idea. Contact us today to access quality academic programs of your interest.

    Redefining Hospitality Leadership  Learn more about all programs and courses at EHL Hospitality Business School Discover

    Got a story to share? Become an EHL Insights contributor