The cabinet has appointed Pascale Baeriswyl Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to replace Yves Rossier, who becomes the new Swiss ambassador in Moscow.
Basel-born Baeriswyl was named the foreign ministry’s number two after an open competition process for the post, the foreign ministry said in a statement on Friday. It is the first time a woman has held this prestigious post, although Micheline Calmy-Rey held the top spot, foreign minister, from 2003-2011.
The 48-year-old diplomat recently headed the division in charge of international law, the so-called Asset Recovery Task Force and international treaties.
A trained lawyer, historian and skilled linguist, Baeriswyl joined the foreign ministry in 2000 after working as a researcher at the Swiss National Science Foundation and as a judge.
She also worked as deputy head of the Human Rights Section, responsible for the Asia-Pacific region. From 2005 to 2008, she was in charge of security and foreign policy at the Swiss mission to the European Union in Brussels. From 2008 to 2013, she headed the political section of the Swiss mission to the United Nations in New York.
She replaces Yves Rossier, who was Switzerland’s top negotiator for talks on institutional issues with the EU until Jacques de Watteville was handed the role last August. Rossier then focused increasingly on Swiss relations with countries in the Middle East.
On Friday the cabinet also announced a raft of other diplomatic appointments. These included Krystyna Marty Lang, until recently head of mission in Pristina, who was appointed deputy state secretary and deputy head of the Directorate of Political Affairs.
Former Swiss ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Alexandre Fasel, was appointed to head the Swiss embassy in London.