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Shifting up a gear – the AVR’s 68th Annual General Meeting

AVR President Adnan Tanglay welcomed the 250 or so members and guests who had taken up the invitation to the AVR’s 68th Annual General Meeting in the auditorium in Building 1. Adnan Tanglay opened the proceedings by taking the attendees on a spectacular virtual tour of Building 2 and the pRED Innovation Center Basel in the year 2022. This glimpse of the near future offered promising and exciting prospects for Roche’s Basel/Kaiseraugst site.

Review of 2017

Before moving on to AVR’s objectives and visions for the future, the meeting addressed the agenda items of the present and the recent past. Adnan Tanglay presented the AVR’s membership statistics, and let the figures do the talking. Since 2001, the number of members has seen a sharp climb, from 5,221 to 8,314. It is encouraging to note that the number of English-speaking members has steadily risen to its present level of around 950. The AVR once again attached great importance to reaching English-speaking employees, and a simultaneous English translation of the entire AGM was provided via headphones.

And on the topic of figures, the AVR has never had to hold as many consultations as it did in 2017. Good solutions needed to be found for the employees affected by no fewer than five reorganisations: Global Quality Transformation PTQ, phase two of the Small Molecules Asset Transformation (SMAT) in Global Pharma Technical Operations, Packaging Transformation in Pharma Technical Operations (PT), OneProcurement in Global Pharma Procurement and Project ONE at Roche Pharma (Switzerland) in Reinach. Thanks to its early involvement in strategic deliberations at senior management level, the AVR was able to represent the best interests of the employees affected. It was possible to draw up a standard redundancy scheme for the next two years.

The AVR’s main concerns in 2017 and also today revolve around the global strategy for biosimilars, the ongoing restructurings and, linked to this, the future of Roche Basel and Kaiseraugst as a production location.

Adnan Tanglay presented an animated film* on the Basel/Kaiseraugst site from the point of view of a Kaiseraugst employee. This film left the audience in a pensive mood.

Voting and elections

During the voting in the business part of the AGM, the AVR Committee proposed a CHF 5 increase in the membership subscription fee. The fee had not been increased since 1986. The proposal was approved by a large majority. From 2019 the AVR annual membership subscription will be CHF 20.

During the subsequent elections, all the members of the AVR Executive Committee were re-elected for a further two years: Adnan Tanglay as President, Gernot Scharf as Vice President and Andreas Winkler as Treasurer. Ruedi Vorburger was re-elected as an associate member of the Executive Committee. Robert Gray of the AVR Committee was newly elected to the Executive Committee as successor to Dr Michael Pantze, who retired in autumn 2017. Michael Tilly, Deputy Plant Manager for Sterile Packaging, was elected as a new associate member of the AVR Committee. He takes over from Karlheinz Geng, who is retiring in summer 2018.

Goals for 2018

To keep on top of its general day-to-day business, the AVR is calling on internal reinforcements. At this year’s AVR offsite meeting in June, the intention is to extend the existing half-day session with representatives from HR at Basel/Kaiseraugst, Rotkreuz, Schlieren and Reinach to cover a full day. The training day at the offsite meeting this year is devoted to the subject of “Respect”. Part II of the internal training on cultural differences and leadership will take place during the third and fourth quarters of 2018.

The next AVR site and retiree representative election will be in autumn 2018. This year, the AVR is working to introduce a new electronic voting system for the first time.   

And the AVR also plans to oversee another bachelor dissertation project for the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) in 2018. This year's topic is digital communication.

Guest presentation by Jürg Erismann

Following on from the business part of the meeting, Jürg Erismann’s presentation entitled “Site development and the associated challenges” was very well received by the audience. Mr Erismann stressed the need for big changes in the life of a company because of the fundamental need to keep moving forward. He illustrated his proposition with specific examples from Roche’s corporate history.

From the Boehringer Mannheim acquisition in 1998 and the sale of the non-prescription products (OTC) division to Bayer in 2004 to the 100% acquisition of Genentech in 2009 and the recent acquisition of the startup company Flatiron, Mr Erismann stated that Roche once again found itself at a turning point on its path to the future.

He explained that, as well as renewing the product pipeline, today’s challenges included acquiring knowledge from digital patient data, and that the Basel/Kaiseraugst site is developing in line with needs. The substantial current investments in research and development (pRED Innovation Center Basel) and IT (the Flatiron acquisition) should be seen from this perspective and as pursuing the goal of equipping the site for the future.

In conclusion, Mr Erismann thanked the AVR Committee for its excellent collaboration and culture of dialogue.


The impeccably staged refreshment party following the meeting was the perfect setting for socialising. In the Avenue staff restaurant on the third floor of Building 1 and the Terazza cafeteria on the fourth floor, the Tavero AG team served guests a selection of the finest drinks and nibbles to the agreeable sound of the FLF jazz trio led by Fabian Emmenegger, President of the Roche Wind Orchestra.

The AVR Committee would like to thank its members for the confidence they have placed in it. Huge thanks to Jürg Erismann, Head of the Roche Basel/Kaiseraugst site, and Bruno Weissen, Head of HR at Basel/Kaiseraugst, for their ongoing generous support of the AVR.


The minutes of the General Meeting are stored electronically on the AVR website.

The next General Meeting is due to take place on 28 March 2019 in the auditorium of Building 1.


* Intranet access only