The long-term consequences of COVID-19 are still uncertain, but one thing is clear: This crisis will profoundly influence how business will be done in the future. Once the short-term survival of their firms has been secured, leaders are well-advised to consider the potential impacts of this crisis on their strategy.
Up to now, Swiss executives have been busy managing the emergency. COVID-19 has resulted in many macroeconomic worst-case scenarios unfolding simultaneously.
As an export-oriented country dependent on international trade, Switzerland has been hit hard. As figure 1 shows, the initial downturn on the Swiss Market Index (SMI) was more severe than at the beginning of the financial crisis 2008/09, signalling significant economic problems ahead. Since then, the financial markets have made up for much of the decline (standing at "only" minus 8% as of 8 May), but most observers see this as a case-in-point for the disconnect between the financial markets and the real economy. While the exact speed and shape of recovery of the real economy are still being debated among economists, most experts believe that there will be a prolonged and severe downturn.