UC Santa Cruz international economics Ph.D. named first woman on Swiss National Bank board

Andrea Maechler
Andrea Maechler received her Ph.D. from UC Santa Cruz in 1999.
Andréa Maechler, who earned masters and Ph.D. degrees in international economics at UC Santa Cruz, has been named the first woman to sit on the governing board of Switzerland’s central bank.

Maechler, 45, will join the three-member Swiss National Bank board July 1, the first woman since it was founded in 1907.

She first worked for SNB shortly after leaving UC Santa Cruz, said Michael Hutchison, UC Santa Cruz professor of economics, who remembers Maechler as  a star student.

“She was always intellectually curious and also very professional and composed,” Hutchison said.  He credits Maechler's technical strengths and leadership qualities with her success in the world of international economics.

At UC Santa Cruz she worked with professor K.C. Fung who is on sabbatical at Hong Kong University. In an email to his colleagues Wednesday after learning of Maechler’s appointment, Fung said, “I think this is a wonderful thing for our department and for our university. I am happy for her and I am proud of her.”

Fung and Maechler published several papers together including one in 2000, “Can a Cleaner Environment Be Good for Business?," which followed her dissertation on environmental international trade.

In a statement Wednesday (December 17), the Swiss government said Maechler was chosen because of her proven skills. ‘”In more than 16 years of professional activity, she has acquired sound knowledge in the field of international monetary affairs and of financial stability.”

Maechler is currently deputy division chief in the Global Markets Analysis Department at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C. She has previously worked for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the UN Conference on Trade and Development, the World Trade Organization and the European Systemic Risk Board.

At the SNB, Maechler will head the department responsible for the bank’s cap on the Swiss franc versus the euro. She will also be in charge of managing the SNB's foreign currency reserves of approximately 460 billion Swiss francs ($474.81 billion).

Maechler joins a small group of women in top jobs in central banking, including Janet Yellen at the U.S. Federal Reserve,  Sabine Lautenschlaeger at the European Central Bank, and Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF. 

Before attending UC Santa Cruz, Maechler completed undergraduate work at the University of Toronto, and also studied at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva and the Institute of Advanced Studies in Public Administration in Lausanne.