Changes at the FDPIC: Marc Buntschu takes over from Jean-Philippe Walter

Bern, 04.12.2018 - After 38 years as a data protection expert in the Federal Administration, including 25 years as deputy to the Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner (FDPIC), Jean-Philippe Walter retires at the end of January 2019. At the FDPIC, he was responsible primarily for legislation, the International Affairs Section and cooperation with the cantons. He was familiar to many, particularly in the French-speaking regions of Switzerland, thanks to his long-standing presence in the media as a recognised expert in his field. His successor, Marc Buntschu, is also a French-speaker. Mr Buntschu, who is currently head of the Data Protection Section, assumes his new post on 1 February 2019.

Jean-Philippe Walter has been the Deputy Data Protection and Information Commissioner since the introduction of the Federal Act of Data Protection (FADP) in 1993. He was also head of the FDPIC’s permanent secretariat until the appointment of the current Commissioner, Adrian Lobsiger, in 2016. In September 2005, as organiser of the 27th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners in Montreux, Walter drafted the Montreux Declaration, a major milestone in the movement to create a global legal framework for data protection. This framework is now contained in the Council of Europe’s revised Convention 108, underlining the importance of Walter’s international achievements, for which he was awarded the Council of Europe’s ‘Pro Merito’ medal of honour in June 2016. As chairman of the consultative committee, he made an essential contribution to the revised Convention 108, which was approved in May of this year by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers and opened for signature on 10 October.

Jean-Philippe Walter also coordinated the work on Schengen between the Confederation and the cantons for almost ten years, and was a founder member of the French-speaking Association of Personal Data Protection Authorities. He steps down as chairman of this association on his retirement. In addition, he was the first representative from a non-EU member state to chair the Schengen Joint Supervisory Authority.

High profile in French-speaking regions

Jean-Philippe Walter is a familiar face at national level, in particular in the French-speaking regions of Switzerland, thanks to his recognised expertise and regular appearances in the media over the years. He worked closely with universities and business associations. He was responsible for international affairs at the FDPIC and for maintaining contact with cantonal data protection authorities on legislative matters. He acted as the interim Data Protection and Information Commissioner for six months following Hanspeter Thür’s departure. Prior to this, Walter had already been closely involved in drafting the Federal Council dispatch on the total revision of the Data Protection Act, a project which is still ongoing. Walter also played a major role in the creation of the Freedom of Information Act, which came into force in 2006. He was deeply committed to raising public awareness in Switzerland of data protection issues, for example as the co-initiator of International Data Protection Day, which has been held every year since 2007 at the instigation of the Council of Europe. He also played an active role in the FDPIC’s other tasks (in particular providing advice, raising awareness and supervisory activities), and regularly represented the FDPIC at parliamentary committee hearings.

Marc Buntschu appointed new deputy

From 1 February 2019, Marc Buntschu, a 56-year-old lawyer, will take over as the Deputy Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner and head of Walter’s former section. Buntschu previously worked for the Federal Office of Justice and the Parliamentary Services. As a member of the FDPIC Directorate, he currently heads the Data Protection Section and manages the FDPIC’s advisory and monitoring activities relating to major ongoing digital projects in both the private sector and the Federal Administration in Switzerland. His successor in this position will be Daniel Dzamko (45), currently an executive manager in the Canton of Bern’s Tax Administration. Reto Ammann remains head of the Freedom of Information Section.

Address for enquiries

Media unit of the Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner, tel. 058 464 94 10,


Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner