The Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce and its Lake Geneva Chapter Board have presented their “Gallatin Award” to Waypoint’s Chairman, Ernesto Bertarelli, for his “exceptional contributions to the Swiss-American relationship across many fields”: business, sport and philanthropy.
The Gallatin Award recognises exceptional contributions of individuals and firms to furthering a better understanding between Switzerland and the United States of America and was presented at an event at Campus Biotech in Geneva on the 6th of April. Speakers included Pierre Maudet (Conseiller d’État, Canton de Genève), Daniel Borel (founder of Logitech), Professor Patrick Aebischer (former President of École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne) and André Kudelski (Chairman and CEO of Kudelski Group and Vice-Chairman of Swiss Amcham). Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann held the laudatio and presented the award, saying:
“In recognising Ernesto Bertarelli, the American Chamber of Commerce has honoured a man and a family that has done a great deal for Switzerland and the United States.”
Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann also outlined the challenge he sees as being implied in the award:
“A distinction like the Gallatin Award therefore comes at a price for those who receive it. Because in my view, Ernesto, the Gallatin Award does not first and foremost reward you for what you have already done for the friendship between our Sister Republics. It is a lot more about what you can and will do in the future. As a businessman, as a sportsman and as a philanthropist. Therefore, Ernesto, you are presented with a fresh challenge. To uphold the spirit of liberty, trust and friendship, which has always characterised the relationship between Switzerland and the United States.”
The previous six Gallatin Award winners were Patrick Firmenich (then CEO of Firmenich Inc.) for implementing “Sustainability Thought Leadership” on both sides of the Atlantic, Charles Kleiber (former State Secretary for Education & Research) and Thierry Lombard (Managing Partner of Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch & Cie.) for their key contribution in developing the Swissnex network; Robert Portman, former US Trade Representative and now US Senator; Robert Lutz, famous car pioneer; and Daniel Borel, inventor of the computer mouse and founder of Logitech.
The eponym of the award, Albert Gallatin, is regarded as “Switzerland’s Greatest Contribution to the Building of the United States of America”. Born in 1761 in Geneva, he immigrated to the US in 1780, where he worked as a French Teacher at Harvard University. Albert Gallatin started his political career as a member of the House of Representatives. During President Thomas Jefferson’s administration, he was appointed as Secretary of Treasury and held that office for the longest period in the history of the United States (13 years). Later, he served as Ambassador to England and to France. In 1817, he retired from public service and moved to New York. He became President of the Bank of New York and founded New York University. Today, Gallatin’s statue stands alone in front of the main Treasury Department building on Pennsylvania Avenue.