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Swiss select ex-central banker for OECD top post

Hildebrand Keystone/Peter Klaunzer

The Swiss government has nominated Philipp Hildebrand, a former head of the country’s central bank, to lead the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

“His experience in the highest levels of the private and public sectors, both in Switzerland and internationally, make him the ideal candidate for this prestigious position,” Economics Minister Guy Parmelin told a news conference on Wednesday.

“This candidacy offers a great opportunity for Switzerland to reach the highest position in a renowned international organisation,” he added.

The Paris-based OECD is is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 37 member countries. Its aim is to stimulate economic progress and world trade.

Switzerland was one of the founding members of the organisation when it was created in 1961.

Hildebrand said the many talented competitors notably from European Union member countries for the top position were a challenge.

“But I’m convinced that it is worthwhile for Switzerland, acting united and with confidence,to try to win the top post,” he said.

If the Swiss candidacy is successful, the 57-year-old would succeed Angel Guría of Spain as OECD secretary-general at the end of May 2021. To date there are eight candidates in the running in a nomination process that will be finalised next February.

Hildebrand was chairman of the Swiss National Bank between 2010 and 2012, before he stepped down under pressure, notably from the political right over a private currency deal.

He later joined BlackRock, a leading asset management company, and has held the position of vice-president there since 2012.

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