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Former Swiss central banker throws in towel to lead OECD

Hildebrand had to concede defeat having failed to generate enough support for his candidacy. Keystone / Peter Klaunzer

Former Swiss National Bank (SNB) chairman, Philipp Hildebrand, has pulled out of the race to become the next secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Hildebrand announced that he had withdrawn his candidacy on Twitter on Thursday evening. “It was a privilege and an honour to have been Switzerland’s nominee and to have gotten this far in the race,” he stated. “Throughout this effort, I relentlessly advocated for the need to promote a fair transition to a net-zero emission economy, to reform and invest in the global economy to yield higher and more inclusive growth, and to reinvigorate international cooperation.”

In an interview with the SonntagsZeitung newspaper last month, Hildebrand said that the most urgent issues to address in the global economy are inequality, climate change, public debt and corporate tax avoidance. He was put forward by the Swiss government in October as a candidate to lead the OECD.

The Paris-based OECDExternal link 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 was chairman of Switzerland’s central 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.

The final two candidates to lead the OECD are former EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmström from Sweden and ex-Australian finance minister Mathias Cormann.

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