Looking to the future: an interview with our CEO

After making a decisive contribution to the company’s development as CFO since 2012, Alex Hirter took over the role of the CEO of ETEL in 2019. In this interview, he shares with us his vision for the company, an overview of current developments and reveals what particularly motivates him on the occasion of this anniversary.

What do you consider to be the most important values at ETEL, which are also synonymous with the company’s success?

I am convinced that ownership and teamwork are the key to success; it’s essential to promote collaboration between different departments and different companies to achieve our goals. Over five years ago, we defined new corporate values to clearly indicate how we want to work together and what is important to us. Working with a number of employees, we decided that the following values would guide us into the future: Respect, Trust, Ownership, Excellence and Passion. Today, I’m proud to see how these values are embodied on a daily basis at ETEL; we’re a very dynamic company, with employees from different cultures. We work as a team to achieve our goals and strive for excellence with ownership, passion, respect and trust.

How has ETEL’s vision evolved over the years and how do you see the company’s future?

ETEL was an independent company until 1999, when it was bought by the HEIDENHAIN Group. Our shareholder has enabled us to remain independent and to continue to develop the company here in Val-de-Travers. In 2019, we decided that we needed to focus more on ETEL as a brand. We started by integrating our commercial services into the HEIDENHAIN Sales network, and then we opened several production sites in order to benefit from the technologies and skills within our group and to have a global presence. Today, we are the key brand for high-precision, high-dynamic motion technology within the HEIDENHAIN Group, primarily serving the semiconductor and machine tool industry.

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50 years of trust

For half a century, ETEL has endeavoured to provide innovation, reliability and excellence. Our commitment to quality and precision has won the trust of customers around the world. 

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50 years of excellence

ETEL celebrates five decades of pioneering work in direct drive and motion control technology and sets standards for innovation and precision. We will continue to focus on delivering excellence in the future.

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50 years of respect

Since its inception, ETEL has built its legacy on respect – respect for our customers, our partners and our dedicated teams. Respect is the cornerstone of our success.

Last year, you decided to focus on a new communications concept. Why did you take this decision?

Two years ago, we started to intensify internal communication to ensure that our employees were fully informed about our strategy and current business focus. In today’s fast-changing environment, it’s important to adapt and communicate regularly. Last year, we took the decision to focus more on our external image to make ETEL more attractive as a company and as a brand. In collaboration with our communications agency, a new visual design and visual identity were developed to underline ETEL’s modern character. We want to be a company that attracts talent and attracts new customers, and we are convinced that modern communication is one of the keys to achieving this.

What role do your employees play in ETEL’s success story, and how would you like to pay tribute to them on the occasion of the 50th anniversary?

Our employees are the foundation of all our past and future successes. Without their skills and expertise, we wouldn’t be able to serve customers with such precision products. We have experts among our staff who have been contributing to our success for 10, 20 or even more than 30 years! It’s the combination of this long experience and the ideas of new generations that enables us to evolve in the best possible way. One of the major challenges we face is the replacement of the baby boomers; over the next 5 to 10 years, many important positions will need to be filled due to well-earned retirements. We need to remain an attractive employer in order to find the best candidates to ensure our future success.

How do you plan to pay tribute to your employees?

First of all, I’d like to thank them all for their commitment and the enormous efforts they have made. Employees are the beating heart of our company and, in my opinion, they are of vital importance to the company in achieving our goals. On our 50th anniversary, we want to celebrate our achievements together; there will be a little surprise for everyone, to show how grateful we are, and then we’ll take this wonderful opportunity to have a glass of wine together and thank each and every one of them personally.


“Over the past 50 years, we’ve invested heavily in our people, our skills, our cutting-edge products, our new technologies, our new production facilities and many other strategic areas. This has enabled us to achieve the success we have until today and laid the foundations for our future growth.”

Alex Hirter, Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
What message would you like to pass on to your customers and partners on the occasion of ETEL’s 50th anniversary?

Over the past 50 years, we’ve invested heavily in our people, our skills, our cutting-edge products, our new technologies, our new production facilities and many other strategic areas. This has enabled us to achieve the success we have until today and laid the foundations for our future growth. Today’s constantly changing world is a challenge, and no one can predict what will follow. To strengthen our structures, we introduced a new organizational setup at the beginning of this year, and are now organised in divisions to remain highly flexible and fully focused on market needs. We need to adapt quickly to a fast-changing environment. That’s why we need to forge even stronger strategic partnerships with our suppliers and customers, so that together we can meet the challenges of the future. In addition, we want to work closely with universities and technology partners to maintain our innovative spirit and stay at the cutting edge of technology. Cost competitiveness remains a key element to succeed in this global business. We are always looking for innovative partners who are ready to take up these challenges and build a long-term, sustainable partnership with us. We know that our products and technologies will change the future and offer our customers solutions that will enable them to surpass their technological limits.