Government chooses image-maker abroad

Johannes Matyassy will defend Switzerland's image abroad. Keystone / Karl Mathis

The Swiss government has found a director for "Presence Switzerland", a new body charged with promoting the image of Switzerland abroad. The post has been given to Johannes Matyassy of the Swiss Radical Party.

This content was published on August 30, 2000 minutes

Matyassy will take on the job as soon as he can leave his current post as secretary-general of his party.

He will be working alongside Presence Switzerland's president, who is also an SAirGroup executive, Paul Reutlinger.

Presence Switzerland will take over the role previously held by the Co-ordination Commission for the Presence of Switzerland Abroad (CoCo) in September. Its mission is to spread knowledge about Switzerland and to highlight the country's diversity.

Parliament has approved a budget of SFr43 million that will be used until 2003, a five-fold increase over the old budget. Presence Switzerland will concentrate much of its efforts on the United States.

Matyassy, who is 43, said he would remain a member of the Radical Party, but had wanted to seize "an opportunity that doesn't crop up every day".

His career includes time in the federal administration, including three years in Argentina at the end of the 1980s at the Swiss embassy's economic section, and was personal assistant to the economics minister, Jean-Pascal Delamuraz, from 1995 to 1997. He took up his current position in the Radical Party that year.

The government said Matyassy's political experience and knowledge of the administration will complement Reutlinger's economic profile. Reutlinger was chosen as president in July. As director of Presence Switzerland, Matyassy will receive the title of ambassador.

swissinfo with agencies

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