Hans-Rudolf Merz (born 10 November 1942) is a Swiss politician of FDP.The Liberals and former member of the Swiss Federal Council. He was the head of the Federal Department of Finance (the Swiss finance minister) from 2004 to 2010 and President of the Swiss Confederation for 2009. On 6 August 2010 Merz announced his resignation for October 2010.[1]

Hans-Rudolf Merz
Hans-Rudolf Merz, 2010.jpg
Member of the Swiss Federal Council
In office
1 January 2004 – 1 November 2010
Preceded byKaspar Villiger
Succeeded byJohann Schneider-Ammann
President of Switzerland
In office
1 January 2009 – 31 December 2009
Vice PresidentDoris Leuthard
Preceded byPascal Couchepin
Succeeded byDoris Leuthard
Vice President of Switzerland
In office
1 January 2008 – 31 December 2008
PresidentPascal Couchepin
Preceded byPascal Couchepin
Succeeded byDoris Leuthard
Head of the Federal Department of Finance
In office
1 January 2004 – 1 November 2010
Preceded byKaspar Villiger
Succeeded byEveline Widmer-Schlumpf
Personal details
Born (1942-11-10) 10 November 1942 (age 77)
Herisau, Switzerland
Political partyFDP.The Liberals
Spouse(s)Roswitha Merz
Alma materUniversity of St. Gallen
ProfessionManagement consultant

Born in Herisau, Switzerland, he studied at Hochschule St. Gallen and graduated in 1971 with a DEA's degree and as Dr. rer. publ.


Merz was a Scout, and visited the National Jamboree of Switzerland in July 2008.[2][3] From 1969 to 1974, he was party secretary of the Free Democratic Party (FDP/PRD) in St. Gallen. Since 1977 he has worked as a management consultant.

In 1997 he was elected to the Swiss Council of States for the canton of Appenzell Outer Rhodes. He presided over the finance committee, and was a member of the foreign policy committee.

Merz was elected to the Swiss Federal Council on 10 December 2003. At the time he was on the board of directors of the Helvetia-Patria insurance company and Anova Holding. He was also a member of the board of trustees of the Max Schmidheiny Foundation.

On 20 September 2008, whilst in Eastern Switzerland, Merz was rushed to hospital, having suffered from a heart attack. He was soon flown to Bern University Hospital, where he had a multiple bypass operation. He was also placed into an artificial coma. This led to a reorganisation of the cabinet, and the absence of the Swiss President, Pascal Couchepin from the UN General Assembly in New York.[4]

On 10 December 2008, as the member of the Federal Council that hasn't been its president for the longest time, Merz was elected President of the Confederation for 2009. In parliament, the 66-year-old received 185 out of 209 valid votes. He succeeded Free Democratic Party colleague Pascal Couchepin. Doris Leuthard was elected vice-president.

On 20 September 2010, a recording of Merz replying to a question about meat imports in Parliament[5] became a viral video, drawing international attention. Merz convulsed with laughter when reading the dense bureaucratic language of the reply drafted for him by customs officials.[6] He was supposed to provide information if the sales of e.g. Bündnerfleisch in Switzerland is endangered by meat imports.[7]


He is married, and a father of three sons.


  • Merz, Hans-Rudolf: Finanz- und Verwaltungsvermögen in öffentlich-rechtlicher und wirtschaftlicher Betrachtungsweise, unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Staatsrechnungen der Kantone., St. Gallen 1971
  • Merz, Hans-Rudolf: Die aussergewöhnliche Führungspersönlichkeit: Essay über Elativität und elative Persönlichkeit., Grüsch 1987. ISBN 3-7253-0297-9
  • Merz, Hans-Rudolf: Der Landammann und weitere Erzählungen aus dem Appenzellerland, Herisau 1992. ISBN 3-85882-072-5


  1. ^ http://www.news.admin.ch/message/index.html?lang=de&msg-id=34515
  2. ^ news.search.ch. "Hoher Besuch im Pfadfinder-Bundeslager" (in German). Archived from the original on 2012-07-11. Retrieved 2008-07-25.
  3. ^ SF Tagesschau. ""VIP-Tag" im Pfadi-Bundeslager- Lagerleitung empfängt Bundesrat Merz" (in German). Retrieved 2008-07-25.
  4. ^ news.search.ch. "Cabinet announces reorganisation". Retrieved 2008-09-23.
  5. ^ "10.5354. Fragestunde: Frage Grin Jean-Pierre, Zunahme der Importmenge von gewürztem Fleisch". Official Bulletin of the Swiss Federal Assembly. 20 September 2010. Retrieved 24 September 2010.
  6. ^ "Swiss watch as minister cracks up". The Guardian. 24 September 2010. Retrieved 24 September 2010.
  7. ^ Merz klebt auf dem Bündnerfleisch

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Kaspar Villiger
Member of the Swiss Federal Council
Succeeded by
Johann Schneider-Ammann
Preceded by
Pascal Couchepin
President of Switzerland
Succeeded by
Doris Leuthard