Christine Beerli was born in 1953. A member of a law firm in Biel, Ms Beerli began her political career on that city's municipal council, where she served from 1980 to 1983. From 1986 to 1991 she was a member of the Legislative Assembly of the Canton of Bern. In 1991 she was elected to the Upper House of the Swiss Parliament, where she remained until 2003, chairing the Foreign Affairs Committee (1998-1999) and the Committee for Social Security and Health (2000-2001). Ms Beerli chaired the caucus of the Free Democratic Party in Switzerland's Federal Assembly from 1996 to 2003. She also served on committees dealing with security policy and economic and legal affairs. She retired from politics in 2003. Since 1st January 2006 she has headed Swissmedic, the Swiss supervisory authority for therapeutic products. She is former director of the School of Engineering and Information Technology at Bern University of Applied Sciences.
In January 2008, Ms Beerli was appointed permanent Vice-President of the ICRC. As such she is a member of the ICRC Assembly – the institution's supreme governing body – as well as the Assembly Council and the Presidency, where she works closely with the President and deputises for him whenever necessary. This includes handling the ICRC's external relations, representing the ICRC on the international scene and, in close cooperation with the General Directorate, handling the ICRC's humanitarian diplomacy. Her particular areas of focus include helping to ensure the cohesion, smooth running and development of governance mechanisms and internal control, as well as strengthening and developing relationships within the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.