Delaneau S.A.



You don't have to be a rocket scientist to come up with three reasons why Delaneau has their offices here: location, location and location. I'm outside an office building at Geneva's airport and could toss a basketball from here to the airport's departure/arrival building. Heck, I could also toss a watermelon to another nearby building where the train line makes its airport stop. Built in 1990, this seven-story structure is known as Swiss Air Centre and (surprise) it's where Swiss International Air Lines has its Geneva offices. The building directory shows quite a few American companies here.

Delaneau traces its roots back to 1880. A group of Swiss investors took over the company in 1997. There's no receptionist or reception area upon entering the second floor offices but, Melinda Gomez, Marketing Coordinator, steps out from a side office to see who entered. After introducing myself, I explain sending a letter of introduction more than a month a go to CEO Philippe Thevemaz. Gomez says they never received it. I find this very suspect as it was sent priority mail from Lausanne, a city a mere 35 miles away.
I'm in luck as Gomez agrees to answer questions.

Ten people work here. Smoking isn't allowed (for some reason the smell of tobacco is in the air), there's no cafeteria but a break area with microwave and fridge and it's 15 minutes to downtown Geneva. Any employee perks? Well, the average sale price of a Delaneau watch is 40,000 Swiss Francs (about $30,000), so even if one received an employee discount of 50% I don't think there would be many takers.

I'm not allowed to see Thevemaz's office. Matter of fact, I never make it more than a few feet from the front door.