Jean-Daniel Gerber was born in 1946. He is married to Elisabeth Gerber-Graber, with whom he has two grown-up children. After studying economics at the University of Berne, he embarked upon a long career in government service, during the course of which he held key positions in the spheres of trade, development co-operation, diplomacy, finance, migration and economics.
In the late 1970s, Jean-Daniel Gerber was a Swiss delegate to the World Trade Organization (WTO). He subsequently headed up the Developing Countries Section at Switzerland’s then Federal Office for Foreign Economic Affairs. He then moved to the Swiss Embassy in Washington as head of the Finance, Economics and Trade Division.
In the mid-1990s, Jean-Daniel Gerber spent five years as an Executive Director at the World Bank Group, before being appointed Director of the Federal Office for Migration at Switzerland’s Federal Department of Justice and Police in November 1997. In April 2004, he became State Secretary and Director of Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), retiring from this post in March 2011.
Jean-Daniel Gerber currently holds various positions in a range of benevolent societies (chairman of the Swiss Society for Public Good) and on company boards (chairman of the Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets - SIFEM) and board member of Lonza. In 2008, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Berne. The maxim of Jean-Daniel Gerber is “Ut melius fiat” (turn it to the better).