Simone Gibertoni

CEO | Clinique La Prairie 


Clarens-Montreux, Switzerland 

Simone Gibertoni: The CEO of One of the Most Iconic Swiss Brands Shares the Latest on Health and Medical Wellness from inside Its Immunity-enhancing Wellness Institute

Simone Gibertoni is the CEO of Clinique La Prairie, the exclusive health and wellness clinic and one of the most iconic Swiss Brands. For nearly 90 years Clinique La Prairie has been at the forefront of better-ageing research and treatments in rejuvenation, health and beauty. A pioneer in its field, Clinique La Prairie combines medical excellence and high-end technology at its Clarens, Switzerland medical spa, which is known for its unique and cutting edge week-long longevity programs, as well as its acclaimed Revitalization program designed to enhance the immune system and slow down the aging process. Today, Gibertoni is driving the international development of Clinique La Prairie and its diversification strategy, with the mission of creating a global player able to help people living a longer, healthier and better life. He started his career in consulting, following strategic and organizational projects for many leading Italian and international companies for more than a decade, with a special focus on luxury, business performance enhancement, and intangible assets. He then moved into the cosmetic business, where he held leading positions as GM and CEO of different international companies. Gibertoni has a deep knowledge of Asia where he created several businesses in the cosmetic field. He also serves on the board of different companies operating in cosmetic- and health-related businesses and is the author of The High-Performance Company Manifesto and The Path to Personal Excellence.

What are your biggest business concerns surrounding COVID-19?

This is an unprecedented moment in global health, and everyone, whether for personal or business reasons. Clinique La Prairie welcomes clients from all around the world for week-long programs, and like any other industry, we are directly impacted by the implications the virus has on travel restrictions and social contact. The clinic has been always open during this period, continuing to serve our Swiss patients, reducing the international clients due to travel restriction. International guests are rescheduling their stays to pursue their health program here on a later date. Needless to say, wellbeing and safety of our clients and employees is our priority.

We know that only the development of a vaccine and the vaccination of the world’s population would eliminate all risks and restore trust and confidence, but this cannot be reasonably expected before mid 2021. And until then, testing, tracing, treatments, and a government-dictated “protocol-led” way back to social and economic life will be the reality. Government and societies will most probably have a step-by-step approach. In general, all luxury travel destinations will need to show a meaningful connection with their customers and give a powerful reason as to why to travel. People will only travel if they feel certain that the experience they will have is tailored to what they want. Otherwise, they will simply pass. Why take risks, real or perceived, for an average experience or something that they can get closer to home? This last point, proximity, will be a key factor in people’s decision-making when it comes to travel. Whereas “getting away” from home was once an attractive proposition, now many people will require different motivations to travel long distances. They will ask different questions, too: Do I want to risk getting quarantined somewhere? Do I want to be far from a hospital or family if I get sick?

The Clinique La Prairie wellness facility in Switzerland.

What is your current business strategy for dealing with the situation?

CLP is the unique combination of a medical center, a wellness retreat, and a luxury hotel under one roof. While the medi-spa dimension of Clinique La Prairie may be on a “slow living” mode due to the travel restrictions and social constraints of the COVID-19, the medical center is continuing its activities for healthcare expertise in internal medicine, pneumology, radiology, cardiology, orthopedy, and more. We are more than ever personally engaged into everyone’s health journey. Doctors and nutritionists have follow-up calls with their patients, including internationally, to continue their bespoke guidance.

Collectively we can and will overcome it. In the meantime, we encourage everyone to engage in healthy practices and try to sustain regular routines that nourish body and mind. Eating well-balanced meals, keeping up with exercise, balancing their anxiety with breathing techniques and getting sufficient sleep is truly vital. All our experts in all four pillars (medical, nutrition, wellness, movement) are working around the clock to provide support and expertise for these healthy practices.  

Health and wellbeing of our guests and employees are top of mind, now and always. We follow the instructions given by the Swiss health authorities in the context of the COVID-19, and strengthen measures. Clinique La Prairie is also a medical center, and as such high medical safety standards are daily practiced in the clinic and all its hotel-spa spaces. Specific measures include the implementation of social distancing in all areas (including the restaurant in which tables and spaces have been adjusted); masks; sanitizer dispensers throughout the clinic; regular disinfection of exposed surfaces (such as door handles, elevator areas, light switches, safes, keys, limousine interiors, etc.) and of all spaces that welcome guests (spa cabins, doctor’s office, fitness areas…); strict hygiene policy for the staff; and many more routines and procedures in guest services, medical and spa protocols, room cleaning, etc, so that all of our guests can feel safe when staying at Clinique La Prairie.

Our vision for holistic wellness continues every day, and we also make the most of this time to continue strengthening our program offerings for when guests come in the future. In fact, we consider our methodology perfectly in line with the need highlighted by COVID (immune system strengthening). Thus, we have a commitment of continuous improvement to always scout for best technologies and therapies. 

The vitality pool at the Clinique La Prairie spa.

We want to answer the question: How can we continue to change the life of the people when they leave Clinique La Prairie? This led to a system which includes our Holistic Health supplements range as well as investing in new technology while the client is on property for the program. For example, our life science experts have completed a natural method to optimize the Master Detox’s body cleansing process, using cellular genomic science that focuses on anti-inflammatory and immunostimulant properties along with a beneficial effect on the microbiota. 

We are indeed taking our Master Detox program to the next level with an even more bespoke program and the integration of nutrigenomics science, that is to say ingredients working on the interaction between genes and nutrients. This “CLP Cellular Genomic Detox” is made up of four 100% natural nutraceutical supplements that stimulate the body’s own antioxidant and detoxifying defenses by triggering the actors involved in the biochemical machinery, which makes it possible to neutralize and eliminate toxic agents and oxidants. The guest begins the supplementation cure during the seven-day stay at the clinic and then continues for one month back home.

The Master Detox program comprises a full health check-up (series of examinations and tests used to determine the best individual detoxifying therapies and treatments), a DNA testing with precious knowledge on lifestyle habits, a detox-focused diet (period of liquid fasting followed by several days of vegan diet to help regulate the body’s inflammatory process), nutrition coaching, result-oriented wellness for a rested body and a perfect mental balance, and exercise plans.

Clinique La Prairie’s new Master Detox is today’s most customized and exclusive cleansing program.

The virus has not changed our strategy. On the contrary, we want to find a way to help more and more people with our expertise and technologies.

How do you think things will look in your industry a year from now?

The COVID-19 pandemic is leaving its mark. People will be more health conscious towards the fact that “health is our true wealth.” The current challenge may evolve into people seeking even more travel for wellness, looking for medical assessments and holistic wellness which will help in keeping internal defenses strong, in rebuilding immunity, in searching for mind-body balance, or overall longevity.

These are some specific trends I see for the industry:
-Demand for ultra-personalized treatments: this was already growing and will be a very strong demand in the near future.
-Genetic and epigenetic: wellness will be more and more customized on individual needs and epigenetic expressions. Wellness centers like CLP will create and offer innovative therapies, and guidance will be even more stronger in the future of our wellness industry.
-Technology and data: how can we use data and AI in a meaningful way and use technology to stay connected with our clients.

In a context of higher demand for preventative and longevity-based wellness, our mission is to respond to our customers’ need for reassurance while moving them out of their comfort zones, thus delivering a real transformation for their lifestyle. What shall a client get from CLP that (s)he may not get anywhere else? A profound and long-time change in their health and wellbeing.

At Clinique La Prairie, all our programs, from Revitalization to Master Detox or Better Sleep are designed and delivered towards this process, with a commitment to bespoke and personal service. We want to stay true to ourselves and our exclusive guests, serving them with the best therapies, technologies, expert services, and science they can possibly get, continuing to be a force for a good change in health and wellbeing.

A private spa suite at the facility.

The current challenge may evolve into people seeking even more travel for wellness, looking for medical assessments and holistic wellness which will help in keeping internal defenses strong, in rebuilding immunity, in searching for mind-body balance, or overall longevity.

In the shorter term—now and in the aftermath of the virus’s peak—we have immediate challenges to deal with. To do so, at Clinique La Prairie, we are answering three critical questions:
-How can we bring our experience and technology to the client?
-How can we manage the “human touch” (critical for our experience) and separation at the same time?
-Being in both a medical and luxury environment, how can we use testing in a non-invasive way to give reassurance to staff and clients? Create “door-to-door” safe experiences?

Today’s luxury is about connection. People seek fulfilment through experiences and strive for deep connections to other cultures, other people and to their loved ones. In an age of digital overload, an important facet of the luxury travel experience is the human touch.

This connection and humanity, especially connection in a physical form, will be at the very least strongly reduced in the near future. This requires us to rethink how we can continue to deliver something which is rooted in “being human.” We might even have a scenario where, with fewer points of physical contact and fewer people involved, the connection between people is emotionally deeper. In our case, this could be between the guest and their assigned health coach for the week. The coach will become more than they have been in the past, they will become a guardian of their guest’s safety for the duration of their experience, from the moment they leave home to the moment they return.

Clinique La Prairie CEO Simone Gibertoni.

What have you learned from other difficult times in the past?

The most important lesson is that after winter there is ALWAYS spring and then finally summer. Sometimes winter is a bit longer, but it has always an end. So, knowing this, we have to be able to separate what we do for the short term (even if for some companies now short term mean survival) but at the same time always keep the big picture of our long-term strategy in mind. This need to continue to be our compass. This period is also an opportunity to apply what is called “zero-based thinking.” The key question here is, “if we were building the company today from scratch, what would we do differently? And once we get beyond this crisis, knowing what we know, where would we want to be and what resources would be required to get us there?”
For me a wonderful definition of leadership is “bringing people where they may not be able to go alone, and teach them how to do,” and this is even more true in these difficult periods. Set the objectives and then coach, help, and sustain.

Safe–and entertained–at Home: What business leaders are doing with their downtime


Morning routine?
6.30am wake up, hot water with lemon, 20 minutes of yoga and then I go to the office.

Currently binging?
Homeland and an Italian series about the finance world called I diavoli.

Currently reading?
Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About The World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think is a wonderful way to remind us that the world, is, at the end, heading in the right direction.

What are you doing to spend quality time with those you’re sheltering with?
I just started to teach my kids playing guitar, so we are having a lot of fun  playing together with them and my wife.

What are you doing to stay healthy mentally and physically?
20 minutes of transcendental meditation twice a day, every day, no matter what happens!

Where are you dreaming of visiting once things are back to normal?
A very simple desire: go back to my hometown in Italy, Modena, to see my family and my dearest friends. Eating in some wonderful and simple trattoria and riding my bike on Tuscan hills nearby.