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In Memoriam…

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Mr. Nicolas G. Hayek, Sr.

Nicolas Hayek, a visionary and a renowned figure behind the success of the ‘Smart’ car and Swiss Watch Company, passed away on June 28th. He unexpectedly died at the age of 82, as a result of a sudden heart attack that struck him at his workplace in Biel,… Switzerland. His funeral took place on July 3rd 2010.Mr.

Nicolas Hayek is known for saving the Swiss watch industry with the introduction of the “Swatch” an affordable and as it transpired, highly collectible wristwatch. It successfully debut in 1983 and gave him the nick name “Mr. Swatch”.Mr. Hayek’s next coup came with the birth of the “Smart” car. An automobile, that set new standards. It was tiny, compact and built to only fit two people. This modern city car helped users easily change its exterior colors.

The engine solution Hayek invented enabled the vehicle to provide enormous mileage. Hayek made a deal with Mercedes, but gave up on the business later as Mercedes refused to integrate the diesel-electric solution invented by Hayek. Unfortunately, these hybrid solutions have not made it to the present market yet.

The Harvard Business Review once described Mr. Hayek as a flamboyant figure with a roguish sense of humor. For us Swiss he will be remembered as a visionary and highly successful entrepreneur who also represented the Swiss country on many political fronts.

Mr. Hayek’s daughter Nayla Hayek has been elected as his successor and will head the company’s board.

Judith Ramseier, Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce, LA

Written by M:)

June 29, 2010 at 7:51 am

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