Roberto Azevêdo stepped down as WTO Director-General on 31 August 2020, a year before the expiry of his mandate. Following his announcement in May 2020 that he would step down early, the selection process to appoint a new Director-General was launched by General Council Chair David Walker of New Zealand. In concert with WTO members, Amb. Walker is conducting the process in accordance with the procedures for the appointment of the Director-General agreed by the General Council in December 2002 (WT/L/509).
At the end of the nomination period, eight candidates had been put forward by their respective governments. Amb. Walker announced in July that the field of candidates would be gradually reduced following rounds of consultations with WTO members, beginning on 7 September.
According to the 2002 procedures, one of the WTO's four Deputy Directors-General (DDGs) is required to be designated as Acting Director-General until a new Director-General takes office. Since consensus could not be achieved among members on which of the four should be designated as Acting Director-General, all four DDGs will stay on and continue their existing responsibilities until such time as the new Director-General takes office.
At the General Council on 31 July 2020, it was agreed that following the departure of Roberto Azevêdo as Director-General on 31 August 2020 all four Deputy Directors-General would stay on and continue their existing responsibilities until such time as the new Director-General takes office. From left to right: Yi Xiaozhun, Alan Wm. Wolff, Karl Brauner, Yonov Frederick Agah.
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