Roth is surprise head of National Bank

The new National Bank president,Jean-Pierre Roth (left) with outgoing president, Hans Meyer. Keystone

The government has made the surprise appointment of Jean-Pierre Roth as president of the Swiss National Bank (SNB), ignoring the recommendation of the bank's supervisory board.

This content was published on September 18, 2000 - 18:56

Roth, who is currently vice-president at the bank, will succeed Hans Meyer when he steps down at the end of the year.

The government's decision amounts to a snub of the bank's supervisory board which last week nominated the SNB director, Bruno Gehrig, for the top job.

The choice of 54 year-old Roth will be welcomed in French-speaking Switzerland, which has only had one SNB president in the bank's 100 year history. Pierre Languetin was in charge for three years until 1988, but the last two have been native German-speakers.

The choice of a third German-speaker in succession would have had wider implications on the country's traditional policy of sharing out power between its different language groups.

However, the government did follow the supervisory board's recommendation to appoint Niklaus Blattner, 57, as one of the three members of the bank's directorate. Blattner is currently director of the Swiss Bankers' Association.

swissinfo with agencies

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