SECO's board of directors

Board Committee

Helene Budliger Artieda


State Secretary Helene Budliger Artieda (*1965) has been director of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) since 1 August 2022. Prior to that, she was Switzerland’s ambassador in Bangkok, Thailand, with additional accreditations to Cambodia and Laos. Until 2019, she held the same position in Pretoria, South Africa, with cross-accreditations to Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mauritius and Namibia. From 2008 to 2015, Helene Budliger Artieda was head of the Directorate for Resources at the FDFA. In this capacity, she was advisor to the Head of Department on resource matters and a member of the FDFA Management Board. In 2000 she graduated from the Universidad Externado de Colombia in Bogotá (Colombia) with a Master of Business Administration (MBA). After graduating from commercial school in Zurich with a Federal VET Diploma in Commerce, she completed internal training at the FDFA as a consular officer. Helene Budliger Artieda is married.

Eric Scheidegger


Ambassador Eric Scheidegger (*1961), Dr. rer. pol., head of the Economic Policy Directorate since 01.02.2012 and SECO Deputy Director since 01.02.2007. Before this head of the Promotion Activities Directorate from 01.10.2003 untill 31.01.2012. Previously head of SECO's Location Promotion Division from 01.06.2002 untill 30.09.2003. Prior to that, economic policy consultant to Federal Councillor Pascal Couchepin from 1998. Member of the NZZ economic editorial staff and correspondant for economy from 1994 to 1998. Issue Management in the «Gesellschaft zur Förderung der schweizerischen Wirtschaft» (association for the development of the Swiss economy) from 1992 to 1994.

Boris Zürcher


Boris Zürcher (*1964), Dr. rer. pol., Head of the Labour Directorate since 1.8.2013. Previously Chief Economist and Director of BAK Basel Economics AG, Basel. 2007 to 2012 Chief Economist and Deputy Director at Avenir Suisse, Think Tank for Economic and Social Issues, Zurich. 2002 to 2007 economic policy consultant to Federal Councillors Pascal Couchepin, Joseph Deiss and Doris Leuthard in the Federal Department of Economic Affairs. 1999 to 2002 Head of the Labour Market Policy Division in the SECO. After completing an apprenticeship as a technical draughtsman, studied for university entrance examination through evening classes in parallel with work, took economics and sociology at the University of Berne. Lecturer at the University of Berne since 2003.

Ivo Germann


Ambassador Ivo Germann (*1972), MA, has led the Foreign Economic Affairs Directorate since 1 February 2023. Prior to taking up this role, he was head of the Economic Cooperation and Development division. He was on detachment to the Swiss Embassy in Washington, D.C. from 2019 to 2022 as head of its Economic, Trade and Financial Affairs Section. Mr Germann joined Macroeconomic Support at SECO in August 2000 and was promoted to deputy head in 2004. From 2007 to 2010 he was on detachment in London to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), where he worked as a principal economist. Upon his return to SECO in 2010, he took up leadership of the Private Sector Development division, becoming Head of Operations South/East in January 2013.

Eric Jakob


Ambassador Eric Jakob, (*1962), Dr. phil., Head of the Promotion Activities Directorate since 01.12.2012. Previously General Manager of Regio Basiliensis and the Intercantonal Coordination Office at Regio Basiliensis in Basel. 1995 to 2003 Assistant General Manager of this organisation. From 1993 to 1995 Swiss Adviser to Infobest Palmrain, an information and advisory body for cross-border matters in Village-Neuf (France). Prior to that Senior Project Leader within the framework of the PTT Initiative at that time «Communication and Model Community Basel», also worked as a journalist.

Thomas Marthaler


Thomas Marthaler (*1982), MSc in Economics, has headed the Organisation, Law and Accreditation directorate since 1 January 2024. From August 2019 he headed the Finance, Planning, Controlling and Statistics section at the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM). Thomas Marthaler joined the Federal Finance Administration FFA on 1 November 2008, where he was an economist until July 2019 and later deputy head of section in the Expenditure Policy division.


The board includes all members of the board committee plus the following members:

Pascal Richoz


Pascal Richoz (*1963), lic. ès lettres, holds a CAS in public sector financial management and has headed the Working Conditions Division since 1 September 2008. Having begun his career at the Fribourg cantonal administration, he started working for the federal government in 1989. He is active in the area of international protection and has performed various roles on behalf of the Refugees Delegate, the Federal Office for Refugees and the Federal Office for Migration. Before joining SECO, he was in charge of an Asylum Procedure Division.

Valerie Berger


Valerie Berger (*1980), Master of Law (MLaw), has been head of the Free Movement of Persons and Labour Relations Division since 1 October 2023. She was previously head of the Labour Market Supervision Section between August 2022 and September 2023 and head of the Collective Labour Agreements Section between July 2016 and July 2022. She joined SECO on 1 February 2007, where she worked as a legal specialist in the Labour Directorate, Free Movement of Persons and Labour Relations Division, Labour Market Supervision Section until June 2016.

Oliver Schärli


Oliver Schärli (*1973), lic. phil. I / MBA, head of the Labour Market/Unemployment Insurance Division in the Labour Directorate since 1st September 2014. As deputy head of the Labour Market/Unemployment Insurance Division, from August 2012 he was previously responsible for the Policy and Implementation Divisions. Between July 2010 and July 2012, as deputy head of the  America Unit in the Foreign Economic Affairs Directorate, he was responsible, amongst other things, for the countries of the USA, Canada and Mexico. In August 2007 he joined the SECO as Head of Group for Education and Employment in the Labour Market Activities Unit of the Labour Market/Unemployment Insurance Division.

Dominique Paravicini

PARAD November 2016

Ambassador Dominique Paravicini (*1967), lic. rer. publ. HSG, head of the Economic Cooperation and Development Division and delegate of the Federal Council for Trade Agreements since 1 September 2021. From 2017 to 2021, Ambassador of Switzerland to Turkey and from 2012 to 2017, deputy director of the Directorate for European Affairs of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), where he was in particular responsible for the economic and sectoral matters of Swiss relations with the EU. In 2010/2011, he headed the Section for Humanitarian Policy and Migration in the FDFA’s Peace and Human Rights Division. From 2007 to 2010, he was head of economic affairs at the Swiss embassy in Rome and from 2003 to 2007, member of the OECD delegation in Paris, where he was appointed Counsellor of the embassy in 2007. From 2000 to 2003, he worked at SECO’s WTO division, after having worked in 1999 for the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the WTO in Geneva. Mr Paravicini joined the FDFA’s diplomatic service in 1998. From 1993 to 1998, he was a delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), working in field operations in Sri Lanka, Mexico, Haiti, South Sudan, and Rwanda, and at the ICRC’s headquarters in Geneva.

Markus Schlagenhof


Ambassador Markus Schlagenhof (*1965), lic.rer.publ. HSG, LL.M., Delegate of the Federal Council for Trade Agreements and head of the World Trade Division in the Foreign Economic Affairs Directorate since 1st September 2016. Previously, head of the WTO unit of the World Trade Division. From 2008 to 2012, head of the International Movement of Goods unit of the Special Foreign Economic Service Division, where he served as deputy head from 2006. In 2001, he was seconded to the Embassy of Switzerland in London as deputy head of the business section. From 1998 to 2001, deputy head of the Technical Barriers to Trade unit. In 1995, he joined the former Federal Office for Foreign Economic Affairs (FOFEA) and worked as an associate researcher in the WTO unit.

Thomas A. Zimmermann


Ambassador Thomas A. Zimmermann (*1971), Dr. oec. HSG, Delegate of the Federal Council for Trade Agreements and head of the Special Foreign Economic Service Division in the Foreign Economic Affairs Directorate since 1st September 2020.. Previously head of the Organisation, Law and Accreditation Directorate (2009-2020), head of the Staff Unit (2006 – 2009) and Senior Desk Officer for North America in the Bilateral Economic Relations Division from (2003 – 2006). Research Associate at the Swiss Institute for International Economics and Applied Economic Research at the University of St. Gallen (SIAW-HSG) from 1998-2003.

Simon Plüss


Simon Plüss (*1969), lic. iur., has been head of the Export Controls and Sanctions Division since 1 September 2023. He joined the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO as head of Export Controls/War Material in July 2006. Since 1 July 2018, he has also held the position of deputy head of the Bilateral Economic Relations Division. From 2000 to 2006, he was deputy head of the Air Force Legal Service at the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport DDPS. From 1999 to 2000, Simon Plüss served as court secretary at the Criminal Court in Bern. He graduated from the University of Bern with a law degree in 2000 and continued his studies in 2010 obtaining an International Executive MBA Zurich/Boston ZfU.

Andrea Rauber Saxer


Andrea Rauber Saxer (*1968) lic. Iur. und Master of Law & Diplomacy, has been head of the Bilateral Economic Relations Divisions since 1 January 2024. Before taking up this post she was head of Human Resources at the FDFA in the Directorate for Resources from August 2020. From August 2016 to July 2020 Andrea Rauber Saxer served as Ambassador at the Swiss Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina following her move from the Swiss Mission to the OSCE in Vienna where she was deputy head of mission. From September 2008 to January 2011, she served as diplomatic advisor to President Merz (FDF) and President Leuthard (FDEA/DETEC). From 2000 to 2005, she was deputy head of Free Movement of Persons/Schengen/Dublin at the FDFA/FDEA Integration Office, and then Special Representative for International Air Transport Negotiations at the Federal Office of Civil Aviation until 2008. After working as a court registrar at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague in 1995, Andrea Rauber Saxer joined the FDFA as a research assistant in 1996.

Erwin Bollinger


Ambassador Erwin Bollinger (*1962), Attorney, LLM, Head of the Swiss Permanent Mission to the WTO and EFTA in Geneva since 1st September 2023. From 2018 to 2023 he was Head of Bilateral Economic Relations Division and Federal Council Delegate for Trade Agreements. From 2008 to 2018 he was Head of the Export Controls and Sanctions Section and Dep. Head of the Bilateral Economic Relations Division. From 2005 – 2008 he was Head of Export Control Policy. From 2003 to 2005 he was Dep. Head of Bilateral Economic Relations Europe/Central Asia. From 1999 to 2003 Counsellor at the Swiss Mission to the EU in Brussels. He joined the Federal Administration in 1992 starting at the former Integration Office FDFA/FDEA, transferring to the former Federal Office for Foreign Economic Affairs, World Trade/WTO Section in 1995. Between 1989 and 1992 he worked at swissmedic, becoming Dep. Head of the Legal Affairs Service in 1991.

Last modification 20.02.2024

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