Supachai appoints deputies
from US, Britain, Kenya, Brazil
August 21, 2002
GENEVA - The new head of the World Trade Organization on Friday announced the names of the four men who will act as his deputies for the next three years.
Supachai Panitchpakdi, who takes over as director-general on September 1, appointed Rufus H. Yerxa of the United States, Roderick Abbott of Britain, Kipkorir Aly Azad Rana of Kenya and Francisco Thompson- Flores of Brazil.
The four will take office on October 1, 2002. The current deputy directors-general, appointed by outgoing WTO head Mike Moore of New Zealand, will continue in office until then to ensure a smooth transition.
"I am sure that the new deputies, together with the current directors and staff of the WTO, will carry forward the work of the organization very effectively and be able to meet and overcome the many challenges that lie ahead," Supachai, a former Thai commerce minister, said in a statement.
Yerxa was U.S. ambassador to the WTO's predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, (GATT) from 1989 to 1993 and has served as a senior trade official in both Republican and Democratic administrations. He has been a practicing lawyer at biotechnology firm Monsanto since1998.
Abbott began his 40-year career with Britain's Board of Trade but has worked for the European Union since 1973. He led EU delegations in negotiations in the Kennedy and Uruguay trade rounds and was EU ambassador to the WTO from 1996 to 2000.
Rana's diplomatic postings have included Tokyo and the United Nations in New York, and he was ambassador to the UN offices in Geneva from 1998 to 2000.
Thompson-Flores is currently Brazilian ambassador to Uruguay, and was previously ambassador to Argentina, Germany, and the Vatican. He has extensive experience as a trade negotiator.
The appointment of deputies is in the gift of the director-general, but he consults widely with the WTO's 144 member countries to ensure a geographical balance and a mix of developed and developing country representatives.
See also the WTO press release at: