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Swiss industrialist and diplomat, David de Pury, dies

David de Pury negotiated on behalf of Switzerland in world trade talks


One of Switzerland's best-known business leaders, David de Pury, has died aged 57. A seasoned diplomat, he was the Swiss negotiator at the GATT world trade talks, and a champion of the free market.

De Pury died in hospital in Zurich, a spokeswoman for his consultancy company said on Wednesday. He was suffering from cancer.

A former diplomat, he negotiated on behalf of Switzerland at the Geneva-based General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) - now the World Trade Organisation.

He held a number of government posts between 1970 and 1991 - among them positions in the foreign ministry in Bern. He also represented Switzerland in the Hague, Brussels and Washington.

In the late 1980s he was also Governor for Switzerland at the Inter-American Development Bank.

De Pury held a number of high-profile business positions. He was co-chairman of ABB between 1992 and 1996, and was a board member of a number of other major companies, including Nestlé, Ciba-Geigy and Zurich Insurance.

He stirred up controversy with his "white book" in 1995, calling for a liberalisation of the Swiss economy. His critics accused him of trying to dismantle the welfare state.

In 1996, he founded his own company, de Pury, Pictet, Turrettini.

De Pury was also chairman of the French-language daily, "Le Temps", and vice-president of the Lucerne classical music festival.

swissinfo with agencies

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