An interview with Amedeo Vaccani from A.Vaccani & Partners (ICFG Switzerland)
'Plain sailing' was the phrase that sprang to mind when I talked at length to Amedeo Vaccani about his incredible career and achievements to date – not to mention both his love of, and success in, the world of sailing.
Amedeo’s life and achievements read like the perfect CV, but far from being plain sailing, this is all attributed to Amedeo running a tight ship and navigating a successful course through each chapter of his life.
Most of Amedeo’s schooling took place in Zurich, with him gaining a Masters in Science and Mechanical Engineering from the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) at the age of 23.
Amedeo worked for 5 years in environmental engineering and high production as a Chief Technology Officer, before deciding to follow his interest in learning more about business. He applied to several business schools, including Harvard.
America was the place Amedeo wanted to be, so his successful placing at Harvard in 1984 was a dream come true. Here, Amedeo experienced a totally different approach to the traditional schooling he’d received to date, as the learning at that time in Harvard was 100% case study based, without a lecturer presenting from the front.
The case studies were lengthy and intricate, with much reading required followed by in depth analysis and discussion. This style must have suited Amedeo, as he graduated from Harvard with a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) First Year Honors in 1986.
Despite wanting to stay in the States for longer, an opportunity came Amedeo’s way to run the company he had previously worked for in Zurich before going to Harvard. This was an opportunity he could not turn down, so back to Switzerland Amedeo went in 1986 and started his business career as CEO of W+E Umwelttechnick A.G.
Amedeo had firsthand interaction with M&A when the American company he was working for was sold to ABB in 1989. He experienced the sell side of the transaction as well as being the concerned management team who were integrated into the new company after the sale had gone through – something Amedeo would later come to offer as a service to his clients through AVP.
The decision to start his own boutique M&A company came to fruition in 1992 when Amedeo was 38. What were the challenges Amedeo faced running his own business, having been part of a huge global corporation until branching out on his own?
Well, the toughest choice Amedeo faced was the initial decision to go it alone and start his own boutique business. And the easiest thing? Once Amedeo’s course was set, he fairly easily found work from contacts who had been customers and suppliers to his previous company. His excellent network of contacts definitely played a large part in getting Amedeo’s new business on the right tack.
Vaccani, Zweig & Associates was born in 1994 when Amedeo joined forces with a partner around 2 years after starting out on his own. Amedeo focused mainly on M&A and Business Development, and his partner on Strategy Consulting and Cost Cutting.
Vaccani and Zweig went their separate ways a few years ago. Subsequently Amedeo grew the business to what it is today; A.Vaccani & Partners (AVP), one of the leading M&A and consulting boutiques in Switzerland, with 10 partners on board and a global reach across Europe, North America and Asia.
The last 27 years have seen many changes in the marketplace for AVP, with the consulting process more structured now than ever before. Competition is fiercer, and there is more specialisation and sophistication due to the availability of data.
Amedeo’s uniqueness, and what has stood him in great stead for the last 27 years is his exceptional business network in his area of expertise – engineering and technology. His reputation in the marketplace has given him gravitas and staying power, with his close working relationships proving profitable and rewarding over the years.
Amedeo still finds inspiration in running his own company after 27 years. Having the tools to develop strategy, implement strategy and invest directly in businesses still holds a fascination for him. And at the very centre of his ethos lies the client.
Finding the best solutions for their long-term clients is the main goal for Amedeo and his team, and the one singular aspect of business Amedeo takes the most satisfaction from. The long-term relationships both himself and his partners have built up over the years is Amedeo’s most proudest business achievement.
Zurich has served AVP well as an accessible and attractive location for both their local and international clients and contacts. Customers love visiting Switzerland and Zurich, and Amedeo believes that not being in the EU has not disadvantaged his business in anyway at all.
AVP is still growing, with the end goal being that the business is sustainable and transferable to future generations.
So does Amedeo Vaccani, a busy father of 4 with his own business who sits on various advisory boards, have any downtime? Yes he does, and you are most likely to find him somewhere out at sea or on the lake, indulging in his great passion – sailing.
Not only is this sport a much-loved hobby, Amedeo was one place away from representing Switzerland at the 1980 Olympics in the 470 class when he completed in the 1979 trials. It goes without saying that he is a very accomplished sailor!
Amedeo started sailing at the age of 15 and was a complete fanatic, training and racing in all his spare time. He competed as part of the Swiss National Team between 1977 and 1980, winning 3 Swiss Championships. He travelled extensively pursuing his love of the sport, to the South of France, Brittany, Scandinavia and Germany.
Amedeo still races, on the lake in Zurich as well as “pottering around” in the Caribbean during holidays. He recently travelled to Sardinia to compete in the Rolex Maxi World Cup 2019 in Porto Cervo, winning their class, with his dear friend and owner coming home with a huge cup and a large Rolex watch!
Growing up in Switzerland, Amedeo is also a proficient skier having learnt as a child. He now prefers to snowboard however, or you might find him cycling up the mountain instead. His need for new challenges hasn’t stopped there, he took up kiteboarding 10 years ago!
Amedeo certainly lives a full life, with his successful business, his family, his love of sailing and outdoor sports. All “Shipshape and Bristol Fashion” one could say.....?