Swiss nominate ex-SNB head Hildebrand for OECD leadership post

Philipp Hildebrand,Vice Chairman of BlackRock, speaks during a news conference as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continue in Bern, Switzerland October 28, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

ZURICH (Reuters) - Former Swiss National Bank Chairman Philipp Hildebrand was nominated by Switzerland on Wednesday to lead the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, whose Secretary General Angel Gurria is leaving in May 2021.

Hildebrand, vice chairman at asset manager BlackRock, led the SNB from 2010 to 2012 but left after a currency trade by his then-wife, just three weeks before he oversaw steps to cap the rise of the safe-haven Swiss franc, prompted a scandal.

He said he did nothing wrong, but was leaving to protect the integrity of the institution when he could not prove he was unaware of the trade.

Hildebrand goes up against candidates including Australia’s departing Finance Minister Mathias Cormann and deputy White House Chief of Staff Christopher Liddell, who was nominated by U.S. President Donald Trump.

He has also served stints as a member of the Bank of International Settlements’ board of directors, a governor at the International Monetary Fund and chairman of the OECD Committee on International Payments Balance.

“Mr. Hildebrand’s many years of 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,” the government said.

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

The 37-member OECD was founded in 1961 to boost world trade and spur economic growth.

Reporting by John Miller and John Revill in Zurich; Editing by Alison Williams