Catherine McLean Freelance Writer

The upside of doing business in former East Germany

Published October 21, 2014 in The Globe and Mail

When Future Electronics Inc. decided to move its European logistics centre from Britain to the heart of the continent, it chose an empty field in the eastern German city of Leipzig.

The Canadian company is one of many that have expanded to Leipzig in recent years, drawn by its central location, new infrastructure, skilled work force and low salaries.

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Swiss officials wrap up probe into Canadian skier's death

Published February 5, 2014 in The Globe and Mail

Swiss authorities have closed a lengthy investigation into the death of Canadian athlete Nik Zoricic in a crash during the ski cross World Cup finals nearly two years ago in the Bernese Alps, Christof Scheurer, spokesman for the attorney-general’s office of the canton of Bern, confirmed this week.

The investigation ruled there was no third-party involvement, and that there was no breach of duty of care in the fatal skiing accident.

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Why Frank Stronach's brother walked away from a chance to be a billionaire

Published June 7, 2013 in The Globe and Mail

Hans Adelmann is the one who didn’t make it. While his big brother Frank Stronach is a self-made billionaire, Adelmann has led a modest life in Switzerland, working as a technical maintenance supervisor before retiring in 2002.

But after a life of anonymity, it’s Adelmann who’s getting a taste of the spotlight after publishing a book called Einfacher Leben (Simple Living). The tale of the brother who enjoys nothing more than spending time by himself in his mountain hut without electricity or running water has attracted a great deal of attention in Europe.

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Canadian children's cartoons find an international appeal

Published October 4, 2012 in The Globe and Mail

Far away in distant lands, some of Canada’s most beloved cartoon characters such as Franklin the Turtle and Benjamin Bear rule the airwaves. Canadian children’s cartoons are popular around the world, snapped up by broadcasters in dozens of countries including the United States, Germany, France and Egypt.

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How an aging population will kill the American Dream

Published September 5, 2012 in The Globe and Mail

The American dream is coming to an end and it’s the nice, grey-haired lady next door who is to blame, economist Laurence Kotlikoff told a banking conference in Zurich this week.

That dream of prosperity – owning a home, building a business, perhaps even striking it rich – was a tantalizing prospect for generations of Americans. But it’s fading quickly thanks to a critical shift in demographics towards a much older population coupled with what Mr. Kotlikoff terms the “Ponzi” retirement scheme of recent decades.

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Europe's banking centres forge new business model

Published September 3, 2012 in The Globe and Mail

“Challenge” was the word of the day at a conference in Zurich as top executives, government and regulatory officials and even a prince gathered to discuss the uncertain future of their key banking industries, which have come under intense pressure in recent years.

Bankers are not exactly popular anywhere in the world right now, but those hailing from the European offshore wealth centres of Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg have suffered bigger blows.

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One more reason why your kids should eat breakfast

Published September 2, 2012 in The Globe and Mail

Here’s a good reason to cook up that morning oatmeal: It could help transform your kid into the next Usain Bolt.

A recent study of 656 schoolchildren in Winterthur, Switzerland, showed that children who skip the most important meal of the day are less fit. The researchers tested the kids’ abilities in five different areas: the 20-metre sprint, the shuttle run, standing long jump, sidewise jumping over a bar, and tapping between two circles with one hand.

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For the Swiss, a year of living on the edge

Published August 24, 2012 in The Globe and Mail

The luxurious Gstaad Palace in the Swiss Alps is a beloved vacation spot for those who can afford to pay 990 Swiss francs ($1,023) for a luxury facial and 1,600 francs for an overnight stay in a rustic but well-appointed mountain hut.

This summer is different. Whether it’s business leaders forgoing their annual retreat to the mountains or well-off pensioners cutting back on vacations, Gstaad Palace’s revenue fell 21 per cent this summer, according to Andrea Scherz, whose family has owned the hotel for the past 65 years.

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Swiss fight reputation as dirty money haven

Published August 6, 2012 in The Globe and Mail

Valentin Zellweger is on a mission to fight a perception shared around the world by the rich and penniless alike: that Switzerland is a haven for dirty money.

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Canadian companies are hunting for European buys

Published July 26, 2012 in The Globe and Mail

Late last year, two top Molson Coors Brewing Co. executives went to scope out a potential acquisition target in a fast-growing market: Eastern Europe. While mindful of the debt crisis holding Western Europe hostage, Molson Coors chief executive officer Peter Swinburn and Kandy Anand, president of the company’s international business, nevertheless saw attractive opportunities a bit farther east.

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