PROFILE-Swiss National Bank chairman Philipp Hildebrand

Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:09pm EDT

Position: Chairman of the Governing Board of the Swiss National Bank

Incumbent: Philipp Hildebrand

Term: Hildebrand took office from his predecessor Jean-Pierre Roth on Jan 1, 2010. The current six-year term for the whole three-member governing board ends on June 30, 2015, and all members can be reappointed by the government.

Key facts:

-- Hildebrand heads the governing board, which decides on monetary policy in Switzerland. He is a staunch defender of price stability as the main goal of monetary policy, fully in line with the SNB's recent tradition. He was part of the three-member committee that enacted drastic unconventional measures during the financial crisis, including massive currency interventions to prevent the Swiss franc from rising against the euro.

-- Hildebrand, born July 19, 1963, gained most of his fame during the crisis for spearheading the push for tighter banking regulation when, as vice-chairman of the board, he was in charge of the SNB's financial stability department. He raised some eyebrows among the Swiss banking community, used to more secretive backroom talks with regulators, with his open, American-style of debating regulation issues publicly.

-- In 2008 Hildebrand was also one of the masterminds behind the bailout of UBS UBSN.VX, the country's largest bank. He was rumored to have been approached by UBS to be CEO to rebuild investors' trust in the bank, which ran up the largest annual loss in Swiss corporate history.

-- A fluent English-speaker with a slight Canadian accent, Hildebrand represents Switzerland on the Financial Stability Board. He is internationally well connected. In 2008, he became member of the exclusive Group of Thirty, made up of top private and public sector officials and headed by former U.S. Federal Reserve chief Paul Volcker.

-- The former Swiss swimming champion, who nearly made it to the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, joined the SNB's decision making board in July 2003, quitting his job as chief investment officer at Geneva-based private bank UBP. He became vice-chairman of the SNB board in May 2007.

-- Hildebrand started his professional career at the World Economic Forum in Geneva in 1994 and joined Moore Capital Management a year later. He became chief investment officer at Zurich-based private bank Vontobel (VONN.S) in 2000 before he went on to UBP in 2001.

-- After graduating from university in Toronto in 1988, Hildebrand studied as a postgraduate in Geneva, Florence and at Harvard University. He holds a PhD. in International Relations from the University of Oxford.

(Reporting by Sven Egenter; Editing by Paul Simao)

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