Swiss perspectives in 10 languages

Blocher to step down at EMS Chemie

Blocher and his daughter Magdalena Martullo-Blocher Keystone

The newly elected Swiss cabinet minister, Christoph Blocher, is resigning as chairman and chief executive of the plastics engineering group, EMS Chemie.

The populist figurehead of the rightwing Swiss People’s Party announced on Thursday that his 34-year-old daughter would take over as CEO.

Magdalena Martullo-Blocher – a member of the board at EMS since 2001 – is already a familiar face at her father’s company.

She had been widely expected to assume overall responsibility for the company after she was appointed vice-president in August 2002.

Cutting business ties

Blocher’s announcement comes one day after he unseated the Christian Democrat minister, Ruth Metzler, in Wednesday’s cabinet election.

Government ministers must relinquish all business ties and company directorships before taking up office. But they are under no obligation to give up shareholdings.

Blocher – a billionaire industrialist – has been the majority shareholder, director and chairman of the board at EMS for the best part of two decades.

He has previously said that he would transfer his stake to his children in the event that he became a member of the cabinet.

In a statement released on Thursday, EMS said that the chairmanship would be taken over by Dieter Klug.

The company said the new management team would be in place by the end of the year, subject to shareholder approval.

An extraordinary meeting of shareholders is scheduled for the end of the year.

Surprise move

The 63-year-old Blocher surprised the markets in January when he unveiled plans to reduce his stake in EMS to 50.1 per cent.

At the time of the announcement, Blocher held a 72 per cent stake, as well as almost 85 per cent of the voting rights.

Switzerland’s other new cabinet member, Hans-Rudolf Merz, will also have to sever his business ties before taking office on January 1.

Merz – who fills the cabinet seat left vacant by his departing Radical Party colleague, Kaspar Villiger – currently serves on the boards of the insurance company, Helvetia Patria, and Swiss multinational, Anova.

swissinfo with agencies

Christoph Blocher is to sever ties with the plastics engineering firm, EMS Chemie, before taking up office as a cabinet minister in January.

He has been the majority shareholder, director and chairman of the board at EMS Chemie for the best part of two decades.

His daughter, Magadalena Martullo-Blocher, was appointed vice-president of the board in 2002.

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR