He was elected to the Federal Council of Switzerland on December 8, 1965 and handed over office on December 31, 1979. He was affiliated to the Party of Farmers, Traders and Independents (BGB/PAI), which became the Swiss People's Party in 1972.
During his office time he held the following departments:
He was President of the Confederation twice in 1971 and 1976.
His name is popularly remembered as the nickname of a Swiss Army ordonnance item, an olive-green jumper officially named Trikothemd 75, but commonly known as Gnägi.