WTO Director-General selection process

The procedures for appointing the WTO Director-General are described in document WT/L/509. The General Council Chair informed WTO members on 3 November 2016 of the process to appoint the Director-General after the current term of office comes to an end on 31 August 2017. The incumbent Director-General, Roberto Azevêdo, has confirmed his willingness to serve a second term in the role.

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Director-General selection timetable 2016–17

The appointment is made by a consensus decision of the General Council, which consists of all WTO members. The Chair of the General Council informed WTO members on 3 November that Mr Azevêdo had provided a letter expressing his wish to seek reappointment for a further term, and that if members wished to nominate other candidates they would have until 31 December 2016 to do so. The process is explained in a note which the General Council Chair circulated to all WTO members. The General Council Chair’s note and Roberto Azevêdo’s letter are available here.

At the end of the nomination period, the General Council Chair, Ambassador Harald Neple of Norway, informed WTO members that no further nominations for the position of Director-General had been received by the deadline of 31 December 2016 and that the incumbent Director-General, Roberto Azevêdo, was therefore the only candidate for the role.


Director-General selection timetable 2012–13

The appointment is made by a consensus decision of the General Council, which consists of all WTO members. A detailed explanation for the 2012-13 selection process can be found in a 1 November 2012 Communication from the General Council Chair to members. Nine candidates were put forward by their governments during the nomination period which closed on 31 December. The candidates presented themselves to the WTO membership in the General Council, 29–31 January 2013. They also spoke to the press.

From 1 April the General Council chair (Amb. Shahid Bashir of Pakistan), assisted by chairs of the Dispute Settlement Body (Amb. Jonathan Fried of Canada) and the Trade Policy Review Body (Amb. Joakim Reiter of Sweden), consulted all members. Their task was to help members build a consensus, and move from the initial field of candidates to a final appointment no later than 31 May 2013. On 19 March, the General Council chairperson told ambassadors how the consultations would be organized.

On 12 April, the General Council chair reported the result of the first round of consultations, and announced a revised slate of five candidates.

On 26 April, he reported on the second round, with two candidates remaining: Mr Herminio Blanco of Mexico and Mr Roberto Carvalho de Azevêdo of Brazil.

On 8 May, the three chairs recommended Mr Roberto Carvalho de Azevêdo of Brazil to members as the consensus candidate. He was formally accepted as the next Director-General by the General Council on 14 May.





1 December — nominations open


31 December — nominations close




29–31 January — Candidates meet General Council, give press conferences





Candidates campaign






From 1 AprilGeneral Council chair, assisted by chairs of Dispute Settlement Body and Trade Policy Review Body, consults all members on the selection. Reports: 12 April, 26 April.

May Recommendation: 8 May; Decision: 14 May
31 May  — Deadline for General Council decision to appoint the new Director-General












31 August — end of current term




1 September — new Director-General takes office

1 November 2012 Communication from the General Council Chair to members
Procedures for the appointment of Directors-General (WTO document code WT/L/509)


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Selection process in 2009   

At the end of the nomination period, Pascal Lamy was the only candidate. In April 2009, WTO members reappointed Mr Lamy as Director-General for a second four-year term, starting on 1 September 2009.


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News 2009 


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Selection process in 2005   


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Nominated candidates in 2005   

Listed in the order in which their nominations were received:

Carlos Pérez del Castillo of Uruguay
> Biography
> Statement



Jaya Krishna Cuttaree of Mauritius
> Biography
> Statement



Luiz Felipe de Seixas Corrêa of Brazil
> Biography
> Statement



Pascal Lamy of France
> Biography
> Statement