Yesterday, the General Council agreed on the steps to be taken in the final stage of the process for selecting a successor to departing Director-General Roberto Azevêdo. The Council also agreed to extend the tenures of the four sitting Deputy Directors-General — Yonov Fred Agah, Karl Brauner, Xiaozhun Yi and Alan Wolff — until a new Director-General has been selected.
The decision to extend the terms of the four Deputy Directors-General came after consultative efforts had been made to designate one of them as Acting Director-General until a new Director-General takes office. Amb. Walker explained once again to members that choosing an Acting Director-General was “very much a housekeeping matter to facilitate the continued running of the organization” as the membership focused on choosing the new Director-General.
But consultations did not yield a consensus on which of the four should be designated as Acting Director-General, so Amb. Walker proposed instead that all four DDGs stay on and continue their existing responsibilities until such time as the new Director-General takes office. During this period, all four DDGs will consult closely with the members as represented by the General Council chair. Amb. Walker underscored that during this interim phase, no structural changes will be made to the WTO Secretariat. Amb. Walker also stated that he remained open to consult with members.