Barbara Kux is the vice chairman of Firmenich and a member of the board of directors at Grosvenor Group, Henkel and Pargesa Holding. She relinquished her external directorships in Total (since 2011) and Umicore after having joined the board of the parent Pargesa Holding in 2015, which also holds stakes in Adidas, LafargeHolcim, SGS, PernodRicard and other companies. A fundamental objective of her work is sustainable leadership. That is why she also coaches today’s and tomorrow’s leaders.
In October 2016 Barbara Kux was appointed to the nine-member high level Decarbonisation Pathways panel that prepared the European Decarbonisation Pathways Initiative (EDPI) of the EU and presented its recommendations for lowering carbon dioxide emissions in December 2018. She is a main lecturer in sustainability at St. Gallen University for MBA, executive MBA and international executive MBA; the course she participates in teaching has been ranked best of all masters in management programs world-wide by the Financial Times since 2015. She is a member of the board of trustees of Max Schmidheiny Foundation, of the advisory board of the economics department of the University of Zurich as well as of the advisory council of INSEAD, where she is also a director in residence for corporate governance. From 2012 until 2017 she was one of the jurors of the Georg von Holtzbrinck Prize for Business Journalism.
From 2008 until 2013 Barbara Kux was a member of the managing board of Siemens, as the first woman in the 160 year history of the company. There she increased results from supply chain management and green technology by several billions of euros, just as she had done previously at Royal Philips, where she was a member of the group management committee. Under her leadership, both industrial companies reached top positions in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index; in 2012 and 2013 Siemens was distinguished in this index as the most sustainable industrial company of the world.
In the 1990s Barbara Kux led Nestlé in Central and Eastern Europe, where she established the company as the leader in fast moving consumer goods, after she had achieved the same there for ABB in power plant construction. She had started her professional career in 1984 at management consultant McKinsey in Germany, where she had become a senior engagement manager when she was asked to join the management at ABB, one of her clients.
After studies in Switzerland and as an AFS scholar in the USA, Barbara Kux earned her MBA with distinction from INSEAD Fontainebleau. She was educated in Zurich, where she was also born.
In 2012 Barbara Kux received the environment prize for large companies from the German Minister for the Environment Peter Altmaier. The Wall Street Journal listed her among leading international business women, and so did Fortune consistently over a period of more than ten years. Since 1995, Barbara Kux has been a Global Leader of Tomorrow of the Davos World Economic Forum.