New face to represent Switzerland abroad
A top Swiss businessman, Paul Reutlinger, has been given the job of managing Switzerland's image abroad.
The government chose Reutlinger, 57, to head Presence Switzerland, the body charged with improving Switzerland's image internationally.
The foreign ministry said Reutlinger was an ideal candidate for the job, having plenty of international experience. He managed Swissair for many years, and was briefly president of Switzerland Tourism. He took over at Sabena in February 1996, after the SAir group, which owns Swissair, acquired a 49.5 per cent stake in the Belgian carrier.
On Tuesday, he was chosen to lead the merger of the loss-making French domestic airlines AOM, Air Littoral and Air Liberté, which have been bought by the SAir group.
Presence Switzerland is the successor organisation to the Coordination Commission for the presence of Switzerland abroad.
This body went on a major public relations offensive in the 1990s, following the scandals over Nazi gold in Swiss banks, and the issue of Holocaust-era accounts.
A recent Presence Switzerland survey of European countries suggests that Switzerland's image has largely recovered, but that it is still widely viewed as a quaint place, populated by yodelling alpine farmers and waist-coated watchmakers.
Reutlinger replaces Klaus Jacobi, who has headed Presence Switzerland and its predecessor since 1992.
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