Selection of the Secretary-General of the OECD

Role of the Secretary-General

The Secretary-General of the Organisation chairs the OECD Council and heads the OECD Secretariat.

The OECD Council is the organisation’s overarching decision-making body. It is composed of Ambassadors from Member countries and the European Commission. It meets regularly to discuss key work of the Organisation, share policy concerns and take decisions. Once a year, the OECD Council meets for the Ministerial Council Meeting, which brings together heads of government as well as foreign, trade, economy, and other Ministers from Member countries.

The OECD Secretariat carries out the work of the OECD. It is composed of directorates and divisions that work with policy makers in each country, providing, with their committees made of representatives from Member and Partner countries, expertise and advice to help guide policy making based on evidence and comparisons across countries. The 3 300 employees of the Secretariat include economists, lawyers, scientists, policy analysts, digital experts, statisticians and communication professionals, as well as those who manage and maintain the OECD headquarters and facilities worldwide.

Selection process for the position of OECD Secretary-General

In 2016 the OECD members agreed on a set of procedures for selecting a new Secretary-General. The procedures are in document C(2016)70. On 3 August 2020, the Heads of Delegation endorsed a Selection Committee made up of Ambassador Sharrock (UK, Chair), Ambassador Schommer (Luxembourg), Ambassador Galvan (Mexico) and Ambassador Okamura (Japan).   

On 1 September 2020, the Dean of Ambassadors to the OECD, UK Permanent Representative Christopher Sharrock, issued a formal call to OECD member countries for nominations of candidates to the position.

According to the procedures established for selection of the Secretary-General, nominations of candidates were to be put forward in writing to the Dean, as Chair of the Selection Committee no later than two months following the public call for nominations. This nomination window closed at midnight on 1 November 2020, with ten candidates having been nominated.

Following the close of the nomination period, each candidate was interviewed by the Members at meetings of Heads of Delegations. In these interviews, each candidate was asked to present themselves and articulate their vision for the Organisation. The presentations were followed by a question and answer session between each candidate and the Heads of Delegations.

The interviews took place 1 – 11 December 2020. Due to the COVID-19 situation the interviews were in a virtual format.

The Chair carried out confidential consultations with individual Members between 7 January and 8 March 2021 in order to narrow the field of candidates and ultimately identify the candidate around whom consensus can be built for appointment as the Secretary-General. The Chair was assisted by the Selection Committee in the consultation process and reported to the membership after each round of consultations. The reports of the Chair have been posted to the OECD website.

On 15 March, the OECD Council took the decision to appoint Mr Mathias Cormann for a five-year term beginning 1 June 2021.



Last updated on 15 March 2021

Nominated candidates for the position of OECD Secretary-General

OECD member countries were asked to put forward candidates by 1 November 2020 for the post of Secretary-General of the Organisation. (Read the press release).

OECD Council appoints Mr. Mathias Cormann to be next Secretary-General from 1 June 2021


Australia - Australia

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Read press release


Candidacies withdrawn


Greece - Greece

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(Candidacy withdrawn on 2 March 2021)

Vladimír DLOUHÝ

Czech-Republic - Czech Republic

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(Candidacy withdrawn on 13 January 2021)


 - Switzerland

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(Candidacy withdrawn on 2 March 2021)


Estonia - Estonia

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(Candidacy withdrawn on 28 January 2021)


Denmark - Denmark

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(Candidacy withdrawn on 10 February 2021)


Poland - Poland

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(Candidacy withdrawn on 13 January 2021)

Christopher LIDDELL

United-States - United States

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(Candidacy withdrawn on 19 January 2021)


Sweden - Sweden

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Canada - Canada

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(Candidacy withdrawn on 28 January 2021)