The world's biggest food company Nestle could leave its homebase Switzerland if Bern imposes a cap on executives' salaries, the group's chairman said in remarks published on Sunday.
"It would be the beginning of an end," Peter Brabeck told Swiss newspaper Sonntag, in reply to a question about calls for the federal government to impose salary ceilings.
Asked what kind of consequences such a move might have on Nestle, a national corporate icon, Brabeck replied: "Then we must ask ourselves whether Switzerland is still the right location for us."
The global financial and economic crisis has prompted mounting public anger against high pay and bonuses drawn by executives, particularly those who work in the finance industry.
In recent weeks, politicians from some industralised economies have been pushing for caps on wages.
For Brabeck, Switzerland's most attractive characteristic has been the "legal certainty" that it offers. However, he said that this certainty, which was "like a granite block, has been dampened."
"Recently, there has been external pressure on Switzerland and populist pressure from within. There we've seen that the government and parliament was rather quickly prepared to amend existing laws.
"That is damaging for a location. Switzerland was once known for not ceding to such demands."