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Hirzel.Neef.Schmid.Counselors – Switzerland's leading consultancy for strategic communications and public affairs.

We have many years of experience and an extensive network of contacts.  

We regard ourselves as advocates for our clients.  

We are committed to personal consultancy.  

We have national and international networks.  

Aloys Hirzel

Hirzel.Neef.Schmid.Counselors
Gottfried-Keller-Strasse 7
CH-8024 Zurich

Phone: +41 43 344 42 42
Fax: +41 43 344 42 40
Mobile: +41 79 401 43 79
aloys.hirzel@konsulenten.ch

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Aloys Hirzel

Core competencies. The main focus of Aloys Hirzel's work includes

  • Developing and implementing innovative strategies for internal and external corporate communications in normal and crisis situations
  • Consolidating individual interests in order to push through overriding corporate concepts and strategies
  • Communications support for strategic projects (restructurings, acquisitions, mergers, IPOs)
  • Managing reputations and expectations

Experience. Aloys Hirzel was co-founder and until 1996 chairman of the board and managing partner of Trimedia Communications, Switzerland's largest internationally active communications consultancy.

Until 1976 he was head of communications and press for the Mövenpick group of companies.

Before this he worked as a journalist for various daily newspapers. Aloys Hirzel is a member of the International Public Relations Association and the European Association of Political Consultants (EAPC). He also lectures at universities and business schools.

Dr. Jörg Neef

Hirzel.Neef.Schmid.Counselors
Gottfried-Keller-Strasse 7
CH-8024 Zurich

Phone: +41 43 344 42 42
Fax: +41 43 344 42 40
Mobile: +41 79 405 56 32
joerg.neef@konsulenten.ch

Dr. Jörg Neef

Core competencies. Jörg Neef's core competencies include

  • Acting as an independent sparring partner for senior managers, executive boards and supervisory bodies
  • Developing and implementing strategies to position companies and their leading figures effectively with stakeholder groups
  • Supporting change processes (mergers, acquisitions, IPOs, restructurings) for nationally and internationally active companies

Experience. Jörg Neef holds a Ph.D. in economics and social sciences. He completed studies at the universities of Zurich, Nice and Stanford (USA).

Before joining Hirzel.Neef.Schmid.Counselors, he was managing director in charge of worldwide corporate and marketing communications for the investment bank Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB).

Until 1996 Jörg Neef was the Corporate Secretary and Chief Communications Officer of Credit Suisse and until 1985 he was co-head of Economic Research at Credit Suisse.

Before that and until 1977 he was a business editor with the «Neue Zürcher Zeitung».

Dr. Victor Schmid

Hirzel.Neef.Schmid.Counselors
Kramgasse 16
CH-3011 Berne

Phone: +41 31 312 64 33
Fax: +41 31 312 64 35
Mobile: +41 79 350 05 37
victor.schmid@konsulenten.ch

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Dr. Victor Schmid

Core competencies. Victor Schmid's core competencies include

  • Brokering contacts with governments, public authorities, the media, and business and cultural circles
  • Positioning and profiling companies and leading business figures
  • Developing and implementing communications strategies for M&As, IPOs and going-private projects
  • Personal communications and presentational training for managers and opinion-formers

Experience. Victor Schmid, holds a Ph.D. in sociology and political sciences. He was a freelance communications consultant until 1996.

Until 1994 he was first vice president/head of corporate communications of Ascom Holding AG.

Until 1991, he was an advisor to Swiss Federal Councilor Flavio Cotti and press spokesman for the Federal Department of Home Affairs; before this he worked in various positions as a communications manager and journalist. Victor Schmid is president and co-founder of the Club Politique de Berne, a unique club for members only dedicated to political issues in Berne.

Dr. Matthias D. Knill

Hirzel.Neef.Schmid.Counselors
Gottfried-Keller-Strasse 7
CH-8024 Zurich

Phone: +41 43 344 42 42
Fax: +41 43 344 42 40
Mobile: +41 79 218 16 30
matthias.knill@konsulenten.ch

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Dr. Matthias D. Knill

Core competencies. Matthias Knill's core competencies include

  • Communications support in change processes
  • Developing and implementing messages in difficult situations
  • Supporting the effective communication of scientific issues to different target groups

Experience. Matthias D. Knill, who holds a Ph.D. in natural sciences from the Swiss Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, was head of corporate communications for the SIG Group from 1999 to 2005.

Before this (from 1995) he was a scientist and deputy manager of the communication department at Nagra (Switzerland's National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste).

Prior to this Matthias Knill worked as assistant lecturer at various institutes of the Swiss Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich.

lic. oec. publ. Jürg Wildberger

Hirzel.Neef.Schmid.Counselors
Gottfried-Keller-Strasse 7
CH-8024 Zurich

Phone: +41 43 344 42 42
Fax: +41 43 344 42 40
Mobile: +41 79 351 10 24
juerg.wildberger@konsulenten.ch

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lic. oec. publ. Jürg Wildberger

Core competencies. Jürg Wildberger’s main focuses include

  • Litigation PR
  • Crisis communication
  • Personal coaching and support for CEOs and executives in difficult media situations
  • Storytelling focused on the strengths and weaknesses of the selected digital and linear media 
  • Media and crisis training
  • Formulating communication strategies for companies, CEOs and executives 
  • Communications Audit: analyzing strengths and weaknesses of current communications; formulating measures

Experience. Jürg Wildberger has wide experience of journalism and business. After studying economics at the University of Zurich he worked as a business journalist at «Finanz und Wirtschaft» and then took a senior role at «Berner Zeitung».  

In 1995 he became the first editor-in-chief of news magazine «FACTS» and was later appointed editor-in-chief of «Weltwoche». He was deputy editor-in-chief of the «European Business Channel» and in 1990 founded the «10 vor 10» news magazine on Swiss television. In 1998 he set up TV3, the first fully programmed private Swiss television station, which he led until 2002. 

He has been a partner at Hirzel.Neef.Schmid.Counselors since 2007.

lic. rer. pol. Hugo Schittenhelm

Hirzel.Neef.Schmid.Counselors
Kramgasse 16
CH-3011 Berne

Phone: +41 31 312 64 33
Fax: +41 31 312 64 35
Mobile: +41 79 239 32 50
hugo.schittenhelm@konsulenten.ch

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lic. rer. pol. Hugo Schittenhelm

Core competencies. The core competencies of Hugo Schittenhelm include

  • Development of communication strategies for companies and institutions based on well-founded analyses of the political and economic circumstances
  • Introduction of sustainable relationships with governments, public authorities, the media, business and culture
  • Strategies for the systematic monitoring of political-regulatory processes
  • Crisis prevention and communication

Experience. Prior to joining Hirzel.Neef.Schmid.Counselors as a partner, Hugo Schittenhelm, lic.rer. pol., (focus on economics), was a freelance communication consultant in Bern.

From 1999 until the end of 2005, he was the head of communication for Federal Councillor Moritz Leuenberger and managed the press and information service of the Federal Department for Environment, Traffic, Energy and Communication.

Earlier, he had supported Federal Councillors Kaspar Villiger and Otto Stich as their spokesman at the Federal Ministry of Finance. In the earliest days of his career, he worked as a political journalist for «Associated Press» and the daily newspaper «Der Bund».

lic. oec. publ. Rolf D. Schläpfer

Hirzel.Neef.Schmid.Counselors
Gottfried-Keller-Strasse 7
CH-8024 Zürich

Phone: +41 43 344 42 42
Fax: +41 43 344 42 40
rolf.schlaepfer@konsulenten.ch

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lic. oec. publ. Rolf D. Schläpfer

Core competencies. Rolf Schläpfer's core competencies include

  • Development and implementation of target-oriented strategies for internal and external corporate communication
  • Support for strategic projects (leadership changes, restructurings, M&A, going public)
  • Reputation management and crisis management
  • Developing corporate identity and brand strategies
  • Specialist communication in the healthcare and life sciences sectors

ExperienceRolf Schläpfer, lic. oec. publ., headed Roche’s global corporate communications for over ten years until 2008. He was the first communications specialist to join the extended Executive Committee of the leading pharmaceutical group.

After graduating in business administration, he worked in product management at Colgate, where he was responsible for several international brands. From 1987 to 1997 he was Senior Partner at the Wirz Group. He co-founded Wirz Identity AG, which as CEO he built up into a leading company for corporate identity and brand positioning.

Rolf Schläpfer has many years of experience as a guest lecturer at various universities and as a moderator of high-ranking panels.

Marie-Hélène Hancock

Hirzel.Neef.Schmid.Counselors
Rue de Malatrex 50
CH-1211 Geneva 11

Phone: +41 22 340 28 45
Mobile: +41 79 204 21 22
marie-helene.hancock@konsulenten.ch

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Marie-Hélène Hancock

Core competencies. Marie-Hélène Hancock's core skills include

  • Developing brand strategies and transposing them on an operational application, in Switzerland and worldwide
  • Advising on the choice of communications tools and their content, both visual and verbal
  • Providing personal advice, particularly in coaching
  • Handling relations with the media, either for a specific project or on a long-term basis

Experience. Marie-Hélène Hancock holds a degree in business management, with a specialization in finance, from the University of Geneva as well as a Master of Advanced Studies in Visualization and Communication Graphics from the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne (EPFL).

From 1995 to 2008, she worked with the Pictet banking group, Switzerland’s leading private banker, first as Press Officer and then, for eight years, as the Group Head of Corporate Communications with responsibility for Switzerland and worldwide. She previously worked as a Senior Account Executive with the representative of Hill & Knowlton in French-speaking Switzerland.

MA Dominique Reber

Hirzel.Neef.Schmid.Counselors
Kramgasse 16
CH-3011 Berne

Phone: +41 31 312 64 33
Fax: +41 31 312 64 35
Mobile: +41 76 405 65 85
dominique.reber@konsulenten.ch

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MA Dominique Reber

Core competencies. The main focus of Dominique Reber's work includes

  • Development of communication strategies for companies in transition
  • Effective strategies for sustainability communication
  • Personal coaching and training of leaders in communication
  • Access at national and international level to politicians and authorities in more than 50 countries
  • Development of positioning concepts for companies and organizations with a strong connection to the political and social environment
  • Crisis communication / communication on competition and antitrust law issues

Experience. Dominique Reber was a member of the Executive Board of economiesuisse, the umbrella association for Swiss business until 2012. He led political work relating to major infrastructure projects, energy supply and environmental issues. Among other things he attended the 2010 Copenhagen climate change negotiations as a member of the Swiss government’s delegation.

Before this, Dominique Reber worked in various positions in lobbying, corporate communications and journalism, with an emphasis on IT and communications technology. This included spells as Head of Communications at Sunrise Communications AG and Head of Public Affairs at Swisscom AG and at eBay International in Europe.

Dominique Reber has a Masters in History and romanistic literature and linguistics Studies from Basel University, as well as an Executive Masters in International and European Business Law from St. Gallen University.

lic. phil. Andrés Luther

Hirzel.Neef.Schmid.Counselors
Gottfried-Keller-Strasse 7
CH-8024 Zurich

Phone: +41 43 344 42 42
Fax: +41 43 344 42 40
andres.luther@konsulenten.ch

LinkedIn

lic. phil. Andrés Luther

Core competencies. The main focus of Andrés Luther's work includes

  • Management of strategic communications projects and board-level consultancy
  • Issues management and communications support for legal cases
  • Capital market communications and investor relations
  • Development and implementation of communications strategies in the fields of corporate governance, corporate responsibility and sustainability
  • Development and implementation of online and social media strategies

Experience. Andrés Luther MA worked in various communications roles at Credit Suisse for more than 10 years up to 2014. From 2005 he was Head of Group Communications and from 2011 Co-Head of Corporate Communications with responsibility for group-level communications, worldwide private banking and the Swiss and Asia-Pacific regions. Before that, Andrés Luther was Head of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications at Day Software, an internet software company that is now part of Adobe Software.

Andrés Luther has a Masters degree in English and Spanish literature and language from the University of Basel.

Rob Hartmans

Hirzel.Neef.Schmid.Konsulenten AG
Gottfried-Keller-Strasse 7
CH-8024 Zurich 

Phone: +41 43 344 42 42
Fax: +41 43 344 42 40
Mobile: +41 79 254 03 66
rob.hartmans@konsulenten.ch

LinkedIn

Rob Hartmans

Core competencies. Rob Hartmans’ core competencies include

  • Developing and implementing strategies and concepts for purposeful and effective corporate communications and media relations
  • Advising and supporting clients on communications and policy
  • Sparring partner for communication managers and their teams in crises and change processes (turnarounds, restructurings, acquisitions)
  • Trade association work and lobbying

Experience. Before joining Hirzel.Neef.Schmid.Counselors as a Partner, Rob Hartmans was an independent consultant for strategy, communication and policy with offices in Zurich, Bern and Zug.

From 2006 to 2014 he was Head of Corporate Communications at Helsana and played a central role in the company’s work with trade associations. Before that, Rob Hartmans worked for Swiss Life (2001-2006, responsible for PR and media work in the Swiss market), as well as in various communications functions at Zurich Insurance (1996 to 2001, ultimately responsible for worldwide internal communications). Prior to his switch to corporate communications, he was a journalist and editor at various newspapers for ten years.

Rob Hartmans studied history and political science at the University of Zurich and has an Executive Master’s in general management from the University of St. Gallen.

Dr. Roger Gaberell

Hirzel.Neef.Schmid.Counselors
Rue de Malatrex 50
CH-1211 Geneva 11

Phone: +41 22 555 28 46
Mobile: +41 79 641 42 57
roger.gaberell@konsulenten.ch

LinkedIn

Dr. Roger Gaberell

Core competencies. Roger Gaberell's core competencies include:

  • Issue management
  • Developing communication strategies and helping with operational implementation
  • Relationship-building and cooperation with interested parties
  • Establishing, training and supporting crisis communications
  • Supporting strategic projects and change processes
  • (Re)positioning organizations and their leaders

Experience. Until 2017, Roger Gaberell, who has a DPhil in Linguistics and is an SDM-qualified mediator, was Head of Corporate Communications and Member of the Extended Executive Board of Skyguide, the Swiss civil and military air traffic control service.

Until 2008, he was Deputy Head with responsibility for internal communications and corporate culture.

In these roles he had to manage a series of extraordinary situations.

Roger Gaberell studied, researched and taught at the Universities of Zurich and Geneva.

MA Yves Böni

Hirzel.Neef.Schmid.Konsulenten AG
Gottfried-Keller-Strasse 7
CH-8024 Zurich 

Phone: +41 43 344 42 42
Fax: +41 43 344 42 40
yves.boeni@konsulenten.ch

LinkedIn

MA Yves Böni

Core competencies. Yves Böni’s core competences include

  • Strategic positioning of companies, leaders and projects
  • Advising leaders on a personal level and coaching on communications inside and outside their company
  • Developing and implementing communication strategies for businesses in mission-critical situations (restructurings, mergers and acquisitions)
  • Issues management and crisis communications

Experience. Yves Böni, M.A. HSG, started his career at strategic communications consultancy Hering Schuppener in Frankfurt, where he advised a wide range of clients in corporate communications from 2009 to 2014. From 2014 to 2016 he worked as media spokesperson for UBS AG, dealing with issues in the personal banking and wealth management segments.

In 2016, Yves Böni joined the world’s largest asset manager BlackRock in Zurich, where he headed corporate communications for the Swiss market. Most recently, he worked at BlackRock in London as chief of staff and personal adviser to BlackRock Vice Chairman Philipp Hildebrand.

Yves Böni has a master’s degree in marketing, services and communications management; he studied at the University of St. Gallen (HSG) and the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota.

Dr. Erich E. Vad (Associate)

Hirzel.Neef.Schmid.Konsulenten AG
Gottfried-Keller-Strasse 7
CH-8024 Zurich 

Phone: +41 43 344 42 42
Fax: +41 43 344 42 40
erich.vad@konsulenten.ch

Dr. Erich E. Vad (Associate)

Core competencies. Erich Vad’s core competencies include

  • Strengthening business relations between Switzerland and Germany, particularly relations with government agencies, parliament, companies and business associations in Switzerland and Germany
  • Developing and implementing strategies within change and adaptation processes
  • Crisis communications and crisis management; corporate security precautions
  • International security and risk analysis; preserving digital self-determination
  • Consultancy on leadership and strategy in the military, politics and business
  • Preparing and implementing complex negotiating situations

Experience. Erich Vad was military policy advisor to German Chancellor Angela Merkel for many years with the rank of Brigadier-General, as well as Group Leader in the Federal Chancellery and Secretary of the National Security Council, the Federal Republic of Germany’s highest ranking security body.

As a young officer, Erich Vad wrote his doctoral thesis, supervised by Israeli military historian Jehuda L. Wallach, on the modern relevance of Carl von Clausewitz’s strategic thinking. In subsequent years his work took him to the USA, where he lectured at institutions including Johns Hopkins University and the National Defense University in Washington DC, as well as to NATO and the EU in Brussels, and to the German Ministry of Defense, Foreign Office and Bundestag.

Erich Vad spent many years in leadership and policy-shaping positions in the military and politics, and more recently has been advising businesses that value his expertise and his independent, strategic judgment. He also teaches as a lecturer at the Universities of Munich and Salzburg.

His professional and academic expertise, as well as his numerous publications and talks, range across military and contemporary history and strategy, international relations, foreign and security policy, leadership, policy advice, self-management and strategic business leadership.

Erich Vad is an expert on making connections, acting and taking decisions in three different worlds: the military, politics and business. He understands the differences, similarities and synergies between these three worlds, and the distinct ways of thinking and acting in each. And he knows how to communicate these insights very effectively to his partners and clients.

Our values and principles

  • Professionalism, independence, integrity, reliability, honesty and discretion are our fundamental values when advising clients.
  • In everything we do we are guided by our client's best interests.
  • Our consultants' expertise, experience and contacts are available to all clients.
  • Each partner personally manages and takes responsibility for his or her mandates.
  • We are fully committed to our clients' interests, but always maintain the necessary critical distance.
  • Our advice and recommendations are always impartial.
  • We will refuse or terminate any mandate that is not or is no longer consistent with our principles.
  • We avoid conflicts of interest and are completely transparent to our clients about mandates from rivals.
  • In all of our activities we comply with the relevant Swiss laws, and when we talk to people or interact with our stakeholders we do so responsibly and with respect for their roles.
  • The firm as a whole vouches for each partner and bears responsibility for all the obligations and responsibilities each partner takes on.

Working with clients. We advise our clients on political options, strategies and tactics. We show them the limits and the possibilities of the political opinion-forming process. We always respect the conventions of parliament and the executive.

The contacts we nurture are always based on trust. We always act with complete transparency towards our clients and the people we talk to.

Our approach to public affairs and lobbying. In Switzerland, lobbying is regulated by and enshrined in the law.* It facilitates access to a broad range of arguments, so that opinions are formed on the basis of many different sources of information.

Our work is characterized by respect for the roles, rights and duties of the people we talk to in politics, business and society. We inform these people transparently about our aims and our clients.

Our job is to represent the interests of our clients within the context of the political, economic and social environment. By doing this we help to get a hearing for different points of view.

* Federal Constitution; Parliament Act, e.g. Art. 11; Operational Regulations of the National Council and the Council of States, e.g. Chapter 4; Federal Act on the Consultation Process; Federal Act on the Principle of Transparency in the Administration, etc.

 

Global network

Hirzel.Neef.Schmid.Counselors is the only Swiss member of the main international consultancy networks for financial communications and public affairs:

amo

AMO is the leading partnership for strategy and finance communications worldwide; Its best-in-class approach brings together local-market leaders with unrivalled knowledge of stakeholder perceptions, financial markets and cross-border transactions in the key financial centers of Europe, Asia and the Americas. Providing sophisticated communications counsel for reputation management, M&A and capital market transactions, media relations, investor relations and corporate crises.

AMO currently serves its clients through offices in the UK, the United States, Canada, GermanyFrance, Italy, Russia, Spain and Latin America, the NetherlandsSweden and China.

AMO regularly comes first in the league tables compiled by Mergermarket, the international investment banking information service.

fipra

Fipra (Foresight International Policy and Regulatory Advisers), is the world's leading international public affairs advisory network. Based in Brussels, its members include the best advisors on public affairs, public policy and regulation. It also helps clients with advice on government relations and regulatory issues. Since it was founded in 2000, Fipra has spread its network worldwide and is now active in over 60 countries.

 

News & Events

SIFF 2018

The NZZ Swiss International Finance Forum takes place in Zurich on October 25, 2018. More than 300 decision-makers and experts from Switzerland and abroad, from the financial industry, politics, public service, business and academia will discuss the future of the Swiss financial industry. Distinguished figures, including Sir John Major, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and Ben Rhodes, senior advisor to Barack Obama, will be sharing their views on the current situation and future trends within the financial sector. Hirzel.Neef.Schmid.Counselors is once again a partner of the NZZ Swiss International Finance Forum. Further information about the 2018 event can be found here.

Erich E. Vad, long-time advisor to the German Chancellor, becomes Partner at Hirzel.Neef.Schmid.Counselors

Zurich/Bern/Geneva, June 27, 2018 – Dr Erich E. Vad (59), long-term military policy advisor to German Chancellor Angela Merkel with the rank of Brigadier-General, will join Hirzel.Neef.Schmid.Counselors, one of Switzerland’s leading strategic communications and financial consultancies, as a Partner.

(Media release)

Rob Hartmans becomes Partner and Yves Böni becomes Principal at Hirzel.Neef.Schmid.Counselors

Zurich/Bern/Geneva, June 20, 2018 – On July 1, 2018, Rob Hartmans, former communications director of Helsana and since 2015 an independent business consultant focusing on insurance and healthcare, becomes a Partner in Hirzel.Neef.Schmid.Counselors, one of Switzerland’s leading communications and financial consultancies.

Also joining Hirzel.Neef.Schmid.Counselors on July 1, 2018 is Yves Böni (34), who will add strength to the financial services practice in particular.

(Media release)

AMO to Partner with Deekeling Arndt Advisors to Serve the German Market

11.07.2016 – AMO, the leading global partnership of corporate and financial communications consultancies, and Deekeling Arndt Advisors, a leading strategic communications consultancy in Germany, today announced that Deekeling Arndt Advisors has joined the AMO Partnership as part of an ambitious expansion strategy to serve the financial communication needs of companies operating in and outside the German market. Hirzel.Neef.Schmid.Counselors is already since 2007 exclusive Swiss member of AMO. (Media release)

Lifefair

Forum Lifefair organizes regular discussion events with interesting keynote speakers on the theme of sustainability.

News on events you can find here.

Forum Einstein

The Forum Einstein is an independent institution for the promotion of dialog between opinion leaders from business, academia and politics. Its aim is to discuss social issues and develop possible solutions outside of party politics, ideologies or preconceived views.

News on events you can find here.

SIFF

Hirzel.Neef.Schmid.Counselors is a partner of the Swiss International Finance Forum (SIFF), a leading international platform for the financial and capital markets. The Forum brings together decision-makers from the financial industry, business, public authorities, institutions and politics.

News on events you can find here.

Publications

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Hotline

Hirzel.Neef.Schmid.Counselors is always personally available to you – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Phone +41 43 344 42 42

 

Contact

Zurich

Gottfried-Keller-Strasse 7
CH-8024 Zurich

Phone: +41 43 344 42 42
Fax: +41 43 344 42 40
contact@konsulenten.ch

Location

Bern

Kramgasse 16
CH-3011 Berne

Phone: +41 31 312 64 33
Fax: +41 31 312 64 35
contact@konsulenten.ch

Location

Geneva

Rue de Malatrex 50
CH-1211 Geneva 11

Phone: +41 22 555 28 44
contact@konsulenten.ch

Location