Following the successful merger and formation of an integrated corporate and organisational structure at SMG Swiss Marketplace Group, outgoing CEO Gilles Despas is leaving to reorient towards other opportunities outside of SMG.
Christoph Tonini is designated to join SMG Swiss Marketplace Group (SMG) as Delegate of the Board of Directors and lead the Group as new CEO effective from 1st February 2023. SMG launched in mid-November 2021 as a result of the merger between Scout24 Switzerland and TX Markets. The change in leadership is in line with the plans of SMG’s shareholders TX Group AG, Ringier AG, La Mobilière and General Atlantic. Shareholders tasked Gilles Despas, who had been serving as CEO of Scout24 Switzerland for four years before the merger, with the formation of a unified company and organisational structure as well as an independent corporate identity during SMG’s start-up phase. Together with his management team, Despas has successfully positioned the group to navigate and master future challenges. This strong existing foundation means that SMG is now well-placed for an accelerated growth journey. Having played a pivotal role in SMG’s early success story, Despas will hand over his role to Christoph Tonini.
Chairman of the Board of Directors, Lothar Lanz, said, «On behalf of all shareholders, I would like to thank Gilles Despas for his successful development work. With great commitment and under challenging pandemic conditions, he merged the online marketplaces of TX Markets and Scout24 Switzerland to form the SMG Swiss Marketplace Group within the defined time frame, established a new corporate culture, and consolidated the teams of fifteen brands belonging to SMG. In this vital first year for SMG, we experienced excellent results. We are extremely appreciative of his leadership, vision and commitment, and the vast amount of experience he brought to the role. We wish him every success in the future.»
Gilles Despas said, «I am grateful to have worked with so many talented people at a wonderful company with a great future. I will always have fond memories of my time at the helm of both Scout24, followed by the founding of SMG and its exhilarating first year. SMG has the potential to become one of the most attractive groups of marketplaces in Europe, and I wish SMG and its employees the utmost success that they deserve.»
Christoph Tonini is an experienced executive board member and dynamic leader. In addition to serving as CEO of Tamedia (TX Group) from January 2013 to June 2020, he held many senior positions within the group. From 2007, he also served as Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board and sits on several other boards of directors. Before joining Tamedia, Tonini held various senior positions at Ringier, including Chief Financial Officer of Ringier Europe.
Lothar Lanz added, «Christoph Tonini, with his deep experience and skill set, is the perfect fit to take over the baton as we continue on our innovation journey. As CEO of the TX Group, he invested primarily in digital platforms. He orchestrated the integration of the jobs portal Jobs.ch, which the TX Group owns jointly with Ringier, the expansion of the digital activities of ‘20 Minuten’ as well as the acquisition of Ricardo and Homegate.»
Tonini is excited about his new role and is looking forward to taking SMG Swiss Marketplace Group to the next level on its transformational journey. He said «I look forward to joining Switzerland’s new pioneering digital hub as CEO and Delegate of the Board of Directors at such an exciting time. I will have the privilege of taking over a well-positioned company with committed, highly motivated employees and executing the roadmap to becoming the most innovative digital company in Switzerland. Today, we already have around 50 million monthly visits on our platforms and more than 15 million users. I thank Gilles Despas for his excellent stewardship, which puts me in a strong position to continue leading SMG and delivering innovative products to help simplify people’s lives.»