RUAG International's top management body – the Senior Leadership Team – comprises the heads of the Space (Luis De León Chardel), Aerostructures (Ralf Drees), MRO International (Felix Ammann) and Ammotec (Christoph Eisenhardt) business segments as well as representatives of the Finance (Angelo Quabba), Legal & Compliance (Judith Bischof), HR (Christian Ferber), Corporate Communication (Ann-Kristin Koch) and Strategy & Corporate Development (Patrick Stump) business functions (here you can find the Senior Leadership Team in the overview).
Deborah Müller joined the team as Director Innovation & Business Development on March 15, 2021. She reports directly to the CEO. "With this new role, we are emphasizing that we are investing more in innovation and underlining the importance of the topic by anchoring it at the top management level of our company," André Wall explains the creation of the new position. He congratulates Deborah Müller on her appointment and says: "I am delighted that with Deborah we have been able to attract an extremely dynamic and experienced personality to our Senior Leadership Team. I am convinced that with her experience, energy and perseverance she will make an important contribution to ensuring that we implement innovations at RUAG International in a more targeted, effective and profitable way in the future. »
André Wall emphasizes that diversity and inclusion are part of RUAG International's self-image: "For me, it is clear that we are more successful the more diverse the perspectives of the colleagues who work for us are." Diversity includes not only gender, but also age, nationality, and many other characteristics.
You can find out more about Deborah Müller and her task in the following interview.
"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
Deborah, how does someone get a career in the space industry?
I know the business from the ground up. I gained my first experience during my studies at EPFL starting in 2009 as an intern at RUAG Land Systems in Thun and then at RUAG Space. After graduating with a degree in Materials Science and Engineering (BS & MS EPFL), I started as a Young Graduate Trainee at ESTEC, the European Center for Space Research and Technology. It was always clear to me that my professional future lies in the aerospace sector. The universe is simply fascinating and constantly challenges you to think "out-of-the-box".
After graduation, you returned to RUAG Space as a launch campaign manager.
That's right, in this role I was responsible for operations and quality assurance for Ariane 5, Vega and Soyuz launchers, among other things. In 2016, I moved internally to our Spacecraft product group as Product Assurance Engineer, before becoming Production Engineer in 2018, responsible for technical staff planning, supply chain management, and qualification and delivery of satellite mechanisms.
What else is important to get a foothold in the industry?
On the one hand, the fascination of creating something that will one day fly in space. To explore the unknown and the vastness of the universe and to be a part of it. On the other hand, I have networked well internally and externally over the years but have always looked beyond the horizon of our company. My Executive Master's in Business Administration has certainly helped me as well. I am also involved in various committees and associations. Particularly as a woman, it is important to build up a good network in this still fairly male-dominated industry. Among other things, I am a management member of the Swiss TecLadies network as well as a mentor in order to convey the fascination to the next generation of women. I am also president of Women Pilots Switzerland and a member of the Federation of European Women Pilots. By the way, flying is also a personal passion of mine. I also compete as a member of the national team for precision and rally flying.
Now you have taken the fast track to the top management of RUAG International. How does that feel?
I am grateful for the trust placed in me and this opportunity motivates me to make a big difference at RUAG International. I am convinced that we have huge potential in the area of innovation, especially in the space sector, with the keyword being "New Space". It helps me to have both feet firmly on the ground, to draw strength from nature, but often to have my head in the stars. In other words, I quickly catch fire for visions that may seem crazy at first glance. It was Eleanor Roosevelt who once said: "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. And then, of course, it's a matter of implementing the ideas persistently and purposefully.
Let's talk about your job description. What does a "Director for Innovation and Business Development" do?
My goals and priorities in my new role include centrally bundling the ideas and initiatives that are spread throughout the company, defining "champions" and clear focal points, and developing these further in a targeted manner. I want to develop innovative ideas together with my many imaginative and experienced colleagues in the countries and business units. They should help us to better understand long-term customer needs, to realize our vision and to make our company the most important player in the space industry – whether in new space or in the institutional sector. Especially with our new brand "beyond gravity", which we will roll out in the medium term, we have the opportunity to appear on the market with a new self-image and to break new ground.
Where do you see the biggest levers?
In order to enable more innovation, we at RUAG International want to work out even more cross-site and transdisciplinary solutions in the future. Strategic partnerships – whether on the supplier or customer side – must also be initiated in order to turn our vision into reality. An important focus will also be the transformations to implement "Industry 4.0" at RUAG Space.
Thank you for the interview.