Federal Council appoints Helene Budliger Artieda as SECO State Secretary

Bern, 04.05.2022 - On 4 May, the Federal Council announced the appointment of Helene Budliger Artieda as the new State Secretary for Economic Affairs. She will take up her position on 1 August, succeeding Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, who is stepping down at the end of July after around eleven years in the post.

Helene Budliger Artieda currently works as Switzerland's ambassador to Thailand, with additional accreditations to Cambodia and Laos. Until 2019, she held the same position in South Africa. 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. Together with 380 staff, she managed areas such as human resources, finance, IT, logistics, real estate, the legal affairs service and the Swiss Government Travel Centre; she represented the interests of the FDFA in these specialist areas externally and in parliamentary committees. She also implemented reform and change processes in the Department and in the external network.

Helene Budliger Artieda graduated from commercial school in Zurich with a Federal VET Diploma in Commerce and completed internal training at the FDFA as a consular officer. She completed her studies at the Universidad Externado de Colombia in Bogotá in 2000 with a Master of Business Administration (MBA).

Helene Budliger Artieda brings with her many years of broad and in-depth practical, specialist and management experience in a wide range of fields both in Switzerland and abroad. As head of the Directorate for Resources at the FDFA, she led a large organisation and oversaw extensive reform and change processes at the departmental level. As Switzerland's ambassador to South Africa and Thailand, she was able to expand her international experience at the diplomatic level, maintain contact with very different stakeholder groups and build up a network with the Swiss business community, particularly in the area of export promotion.

Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin appointed a nomination committee to find a successor for Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, which was led by Nathalie Goumaz, EAER Secretary General. The position was also advertised publicly. A total of 39 applications were received with all of Switzerland’s language regions represented. The nomination committee conducted a multi-stage selection process including an external assessment, and recommended a shortlist of candidates to Federal Councillor Parmelin. After discussions with these candidates, the head of the EAER proposed Helene Budliger Artieda to the Federal Council for appointment.

The Federal Council would like to thank State Secretary Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch for her outstanding services to the Confederation and in particular to SECO. As a recognised expert on international trade, she has been instrumental in the success of negotiations on free trade agreements, among other things. Under her aegis, Switzerland signed more than 20 free trade agreements and a good dozen agreements on the promotion and mutual protection of investments. As head of the Foreign Economic Affairs Directorate, she was always committed to an open and competitive national economy and to safeguarding Switzerland's interests at home and abroad. Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch has headed SECO since the beginning of April 2011 and in this function is responsible for around 800 people.

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