Francesco Kneschaurek was born in Lugano on 22 November 1924 to Corrado, who worked in the hotel business, and Erminia née Lang.
Upon graduating from the cantonal commercial school in Bellinzona in 1943 with a Matura, Kneschaurek began his studies at HSG. In 1951 he obtained his doctorate and worked as a research assistant at the Swiss Institute for Foreign Trade and Market Research (SIAW-HSG).
In 1954 Kneschaurek conducted a market analysis for the company Georg Fischer AG. He later rose to the position of assistant manager. In the same year, Kneschaurek went on a study trip to France, the Netherlands and Great Britain and visited government officials responsible for national budgets.
From 1957 onward, Francesco Kneschaurek worked as a Privatdozent (lecturer) at HSG. Between 1958 and 1959 he studied as a Rockefeller scholar in the USA at Harvard among others. In the same year he published his habilitation thesis on national accounting system under the German title Volkswirtschaftliche Gesamtrechnungen als Mittel der Wirtschaftsanalyse und Wirtschaftspolitik – Die Nationale Buchhaltung (The national accounts as a means of economic analysis and economic policy – The national accounting). In 1960, Kneschaurek was appointed Associate Professor and two years later Full Professor of Economics and Statistics at HSG.
In 1964 Kneschaurek was elected as the Vice-President and in 1966 he was elected President of the school. He remained in office for three years. Under his presidency, HSG started offering programmes at continuing education level for graduates in professional life in 1968, thus becoming the first Swiss university to institutionalise the concept of further education.
In 1971 Francesco Kneschaurek assumed the role of Head of SGZZ, the St. Gallen Centre for Future Studies, and between 1968 and 1973 he was commissioned by the Swiss federal government to conduct a study on the prospects for the development of the Swiss economy up to the year 2000. His eight-volume work was pioneering in the field of future studies and made Kneschaurek nationally and internationally known as a leading economic forecaster.
After 2000 Kneschaurek worked for three years as the Federal Council's delegate for economic policies. In 1974 he was head of the Swiss delegation to the Comité de politique économique of the OECD in Paris. Kneschaurek retired in 1990.
As a young man, Kneschaurek plaid as a goalkeeper for the football junior league in Lugano and during his time as a student in St. Gallen he was a bar pianist. Besides music and sport, Kneschaurek's hobbies included dancing and collecting old weapons. He was married to Norma Stefani, with whom he had two sons.
Francesco Kneschaurek died on 2 March 2017 in St. Gallen.
1966: Institute of Finance and Financial Law (IFF-HSG), today Institute of Finance and Financial Law (IFF-HSG).
1968: Institute of Banking Economics (IBW-HSG), today Swiss Institute of Banking and Finance (s/bf-HSG).