15 Fortune 500 Companies Headquartered in Switzerland

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1. Glencore International 

Fortune 500 Rank: 14

Industry: Commodities

City: Barr

While Glencore International may not be a household name, this commodities company is 14th in the overall Fortune Global 500 ranking and the highest ranked Swiss company. The world's largest commodities trader, Glencore International makes and trades the bulk commodities (metals, minerals, oil, cotton, coal, jet fuel, crude oil, gasoline) that power industries throughout the world. Glencore employs over 60,000 people. Their global marketing operations are made up of 3,000 people working in 40 countries, and their industrial operations employs 58,000 people in 33 countries.

2. Nestlé

Fortune 500 Rank: 14

Industry: Food & beverage

City: Vevey

As the number 1 player in the food industry, Nestlé's portfolio covers almost every branch of the food and beverage industry. Nestlé's brands include Jenny Craig, Gerber, Stouffer’s, Dreyer’s, Haagen-Dazs, Purina, PowerBar, Perrier, and Poland Spring. They are also one of the biggest frozen pizza producers as well as one of the biggest players in the pet industry. Nestlé has been headquartered in Vevey on since 1867. Nestlé's Vevey workforce is made up of people from 85 different countries.

3. Novartis

Fortune 500 Rank: 157

Industry: Pharmaceuticals, vaccines, consumer health

City: Basel

Novartis was created in 1996 when Ceiba-Geigy merged with Sandoz, a leading manufacturer of generic drugs. While pharmaceuticals make up Novartis' largest division, their consumer health division makes several well-known products including Excedrin, Theraflu, and Maalox. Employees from over 80 countries work at Novartis' Basel headquarters, which includes a cafe, public green spaces, shops, and a fitness center. The campus is currently in the process of a redesign to replace obsolete buildings with ones that are more energy efficient and environmentally responsible.

4. Zurich Insurance Group

Fortune 500 Rank: 178

Industry: Insurance

City: Zurich

Zurich Insurance Group provides general and life insurance products for clients ranging from individuals and small businesses. to companies and multi-national corporations. While you may not know Zurich Insurance Group, you have probably seen their company Farmer's Insurance advertised on TV. Based out of LA, Farmer's Insurance provides home, auto, commercial and life insurance. Zurich Insurance Group currently has 60,000 employees working in over 170 counties.

5. Roche Group

Fortune 500 Rank: 192

Industry: Pharmaceuticals and diagnostics

City: Basel

In addition to making prescription drugs such as Tamiflu, Roche Group's diagnostics division produces clinical lab supplies, genetic tests, and diabetes monitoring equipment. Roche's products are sold in over 180 countries. Headquartered in Basel, Roche has 150 subsidiaries, and two divisions, including the biotechnology company Genentech.

6. Credit Suisse

Fortune 500 Rank: 204

Industry: Financial services

City: Zurich

One of Switzerland’s top financial services firms, Credit Suisse offers investment management, private banking, asset management. Internationally these these services are provided through the Credit Suisse brand, but within Switzerland they are provided by the subsidiary Clariden Leu. In addition to operating over 200 retail branches in Switzerland, Credit Suisse has operations in over 50 countries.


Fortune 500 Rank: 215

Industry: Financial services

City: Zurich

UBS is a global financial services company which provides wealth and asset management, and investment banking products to corporate, private, and institutional clients. In Switzerland, UBS also offers retail and commercial banking. UBS was created as a result of the 1997 merger of Union Bank of Switzerland and Swiss Bank.

8. ABB Group

Fortune 500 Rank: 273

Industry: Power and automation engineering

City: Zurich

With operations in 100 countries, ABB Group employs 124,000 people. ABB's portfolio includes a wide range of power and robotics products ranging from power switches to to control systems which control entire factories. Their major product lines include switchgears, electronic control and supply units for variable speed drives and other applications and transformers. ABB's headquarters lie in outskirts of Zurich in Oerlikon — halfway between the airport and the city center.

9. Alliance Boots

Fortune 500 Rank: 274

Industry: Wholesale pharmaceuticals, retail drugstore and beauty

City: Zug

Alliance Boots is Europe's leading drug wholesaler, supplying over 170,000 pharmacies, hospitals, and clinics in 20 countries including China. On the retail side, Alliance Boots operates 3,300 pharmacies and health and beauty supply stores in the UK and ten other countries. Boots UK is the leading retail pharmacy chain in the UK. US drugstore chain Walgreen's currently has a 45% stake in Alliance Boots — the first step as part of a three year merger.

10. Xstrata plc

Fortune 500 Rank: 325

Industry: Mining

City: Zug

Xstrata is one of the largest mining and minerals companies in the world. Copper is their largest segment and accounts for 45% of overall sales. Xstrata is also one of the world's largest producers of ferrochrome and vanadium — coal by-products used in the manufacture of stainless steel. With operations in over 20 countries, Xstrata employs 70,000 people.

11. Coop Group

Fortune 500 Rank: 364

Industry: Retail

City: Basel

Coop Group is a Swiss retail chain and one of Switzerland's largest retailers. In addition to operating 800 supermarkets and megastores throughout Switzerland, Coop also owns the Switzerland's second largest department store chain (Coop City).

12. Adecco Group

Fortune 500 Rank: 387

Industry: Staffing

City: Glattbrugg

As you would expect from the world's largest employment agency, Adecco has 100,000 clients and 5,500 offices throughout the world. While Adecco's main business is temporary staffing, they also offer permanent employee placement, outsourcing and other HR-related services. In addition to general office staffing, Adecco also has six professional lines.

13. Swiss Re

Fortune 500 Rank: 394

Industry: Reinsurance

City: Zurich

While Swiss Re is based in Zurich, 40% of their revenues come from the Americas. The company specializes in writing reinsurance for property/casualty and life and health insurers. They have offices in over 20 countries and sell their products worldwide via direct sales and distributors.

14. Migros

Fortune 500 Rank: 396

Industry: Retail

City: Zurich

Migros is Switzerland's number one retailer and runs ten regional cooperatives. Not only is Migros more popular than Coop, they also have stores in other European countries and run a more diverse array of businesses. In addition to running retail stores like Migros and Ex Libris, Migros operates banks (Migros Bank), hotels (Hotelplan), and gas stations (Migrol).

15. Holcim

Fortune 500 Rank: 396

Industry: Concrete

City: Jona

Holcim is one of the world's largest cement makers, producing a whopping 200 million tons of cement each year. Operating in 70 countries worldwide, Holcim has subsidiaries in Canada, the UK, Australia and Mexico.


This article is sponsored by the University of St. Gallen, a leading European business school based in Eastern Switzerland.