The Foundation was set up by Gustav Hasler in 1948 as the “Hasler Works Foundation” and in 1953 it inherited the ownership of his companies from him. This meant that the Foundation took over responsibility, as patron, for continuing to manage the Hasler works in the spirit of Gustav Hasler. After reserves had been allocated for increases in share capital at the Hasler works, the yield from the Foundation’s assets was used one third for the welfare of employees of the Hasler works and two thirds to “support institutions and endeavours regarded as working for the general good in the field of messaging technology and associated areas”.
By purchasing a transistor licence and financing semiconductor research in the 1950s, the Foundation laid the foundations for semiconductor research in Switzerland and for the industry based on it.
Among numerous other projects, the Foundation has been involved in setting up the Swiss Software School, supported the development of the IDEA encryption technique and, as co-founder of the Institut Eurécom, played a key role in the establishment of one of the main faculties at ETH Lausanne: Systèmes de communications, now called the School of Computer and Communication Sciences.
Following the Autophon / Hasler / Zellweger Telecommunications merger to form the Ascom Corporation in 1986/1987, the Foundation held the majority of rights to vote in Ascom Holding AG.
As a result of the introduction of a single class of share at Ascom at the end of 2000, the Foundation lost its voting majority and became one of two major shareholders in Ascom. Consequently, the original conditions for the work of the Foundation changed considerably. Subsequent developments in the ownership situation at Ascom further reduced the obligations of the Hasler Foundation towards Ascom.
In December 2004, the remit of the Foundation was changed to suit the new circumstances. Since then, the Foundation has no longer been called the “Hasler Works Foundation” but just the “Hasler Foundation”.
In January 2007, following the speculative formation of voting blocks by finance companies and banks, the Hasler Foundation withdrew from its involvement in Ascom Holding AG. This marked the end of the transition of the Hasler Foundation from a corporate to a purely grantmaking foundation.
The newspaper «Finanz und Wirtschaft» Nr. 39, May 20, 2017 page 14 published an overview about the history of the Ascom AG.
Gustav Adolf Hasler (1830-1900)
| Gustav Hasler (1877-1952)
Aged 22, he took over the telephone factory set up by his father Gustav Adolf (1830-1900) and expanded it into an international telecommunications company.
In 1987, Hasler Holding AG merged with Autophon Holding AG and Zellweger Telecommunications AG to form the company known today as Ascom.
75 years of the Hasler Foundation
In 2023, the Hasler Foundation celebrated its 75th birthday. To mark this event, a German-language chronic of these 75 years was produced. It is based on the annual reports, minutes of meetings and various external sources such as the NZZ archive. It can be downloaded here: