SNB Leadership Absence Prompts Call for Governance Reform

This content was published on October 23, 2021 - 09:14

(Bloomberg) --

The absence of both the Swiss National Bank’s president and vice president for health reasons has led to calls for the institution’s governing board to be restructured, according to newspaper Tages-Anzeiger. 

The 61-year-old SNB Vice President Fritz Zurbrügg had heart surgery earlier in October, just two months after SNB President Thomas Jordan, 58, also underwent a heart operation. Jordan returned to work on Sept. 23. 

While the third member of the SNB’s tripartite governing board, Andrea Maechler, remained in post during her colleagues’ absence, lawmakers and finance experts say the situation has exposed the risks of relying on such a small group of policy makers.   

Yvan Lengwiler, a professor of macroeconomics at the University of Basel, said the organization’s governance structure needs reform to make it more accountable. “I don’t think the SNB is robust enough in its organization,” Lengwiler told Tages-Anzeiger in an interview. 

“The question of whether a three-member board of directors still meets today’s highly complex requirements is entirely justified,” said Swiss National Council member Gerhard Andrey.  

Another lawmaker, Samuel Bendahan, said the SNB’s decisions “are decisive for our country. That’s why they should be more broadly based.”

The SNB wasn’t immediately available to comment when contacted by Bloomberg via email outside regular business hours. 

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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