Profile Barbara Kux

Corporate governance and sustainability

Social responsibility is intricately linked to the economic success of a company. As a member of corporate supervisory or advisory boards, I am committed to sustainability: environment, social and governance (ESG). I was personally involved in the creation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Chairs and C-suite executives rely on my transformation advice to reach these goals, for instance in installing specific committees for this purpose. Having worked in the top management of leading global companies for many years, I know how to seize and implement the opportunities of mergers and acquisitions, ESG, digital transformation, to take a holistic approach to managing the supply chain and to access and develop emerging markets. I am also committed to supporting start-ups and act as a jury member in the German Digital Prize “The Spark”.

I am happy to pass on my experience from executive and non-executive responsibilities to companies as well as to universities such as INSEAD, and as a personal coach to business leaders of today and tomorrow. The goal of my work is a sustainable future for our world.

Board mandates

  • Henkel AG & Co. KGaA, Germany: member of the supervisory board since 2013, member of the nomination committee

  • INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France: honorary director in residence, Corporate Governance Center, since 2014, and member of the advisory board

  • TowerBrook Capital Partners (U.K.) LLP: member of Delta advisory board

  • University of Zurich, Switzerland, member of the advisory board of the department of economics since 2014

  • Max Schmidheiny Foundation, Schweiz: member of the board of trustees since 2014

  • Firmenich S.A., Switzerland: vice chair of the board of directors and chair of the governance and ESG committee 2013 to 2023, as well as member of the board of directors and member of the finance, audit and risk committee 2008 to 2011

  • Adobe Inc., USA: member of the International Advisory Board 2021 to 2023

  • Grosvenor Group Ltd, United Kingdom: non-executive member of the board of directors and member of the audit committee 2019 to 2021

  • Pargesa Holding, Switzerland (a major shareholder in Adidas, LafargeHolcim, SGS, Total, PernodRicard, Umicore etc.): member of the supervisory board, 2015 to 2020, member of the audit and remuneration committees. I relinquished my board positions at Umicore and Total when I was appointed to the board of this parent holding company.

  • Umicore NV/SA, Belgium: member of the supervisory board, 2014 to 2015, member of the nomination committee

  • Total SA, France: member of the supervisory board, 2011 to 2017, member of the governance, strategy and nomination committee

  • Engie SA, France: member of the supervisory board, 2016 to 2019, member of the ethics committee.

Executive track record

  • Siemens AG, Germany: member of the managing board (as the first woman in the company’s history), 2008 to 2013. Increased results in supply chain management and sustainability by several billion euros. Under my leadership, Siemens was named the world’s most sustainable industrial company in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index in 2012 and 2013.
  • Royal Philips N.V., Netherlands: member of the group management committee, 2003 to 2008, responsible for supply chain management and sustainability as well as for significant earnings increases based on procurement and sales growth in “green lighting”
  • Ford Motor Company, USA, executive director Central Europe, Ford of Europe, 1999 to 2003, strengthening the market position in Central and Eastern Europe and realising synergies with new acquisitions
  • Previously head of Nestlé S.A., Switzerland, in Central and Eastern Europe, making the company a regional market leader for consumer goods, having already achieved this for ABB Ltd., Switzerland, in the region’s power plant construction business. After completing an MBA with distinction at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, I began my career as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company, Inc. in Germany, most recently as an engagement manager.

Social commitment

  • At the University of St. Gallen, I have been teaching sustainability for the MBA, executive MBA and international executive MBA programmes since 2014, since 2019 as a main lecturer. The Master’s programme in Strategy and International Management, which I co-supervised from 2015 to 2019, was ranked first of up to 100 programmes ranked in the annual global Financial Times survey.
  • Member of the nine-member highlevel expert group preparing the European Decarbonisation Pathways Initiative (EDPI) of the EU from 2016 to 2018. Our recommendations for reducing CO2 emissions were published in December 2018.
  • Member of the SDSN Leadership Council defining the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set in 2016
  • Juror, e.g. for The Spark – The German Digital Award since 2019, the German Innovation Award since 2020, the EY Public Value Award 2019 or the Georg von Holtzbrinck Prize for Business Journalism 2012 to 2017.


  • 2012 German Environmental Award for large companies presented to me by the Federal Environment Minister Peter Altmaier for outstanding commitment to environmental protection and sustainable development at Siemens
  • Repeatedly ranked as one of the leading women in international business by the business magazine Fortune and by the business daily Wall Street Journal
  • Honoured as one of 50 INSEAD Alumni who changed the world in 2010
  • 1998 award as best foreign investor in Poland presented by President Alexander Kwasniewski in 1998 (for Nestlé)
  • Since 1995 member of the Global Leaders of Tomorrow appointed by the World Economic Forum in Davos.