Director-General of the World Trade Organization

Peter Sutherland World Trade Organization Brazil
Director-General of the World Trade Organization
Roberto Azevedo cropped.jpg
Roberto Azevêdo

since 1 September 2013
World Trade Organization
StyleMr. Director-General
His Excellency
StatusChief Administrative Officer
Reports toGeneral Council
SeatCentre William Rappard, Geneva, Switzerland
AppointerGeneral Council
Term lengthFour years, renewable
Constituting instrumentWTO organization chart
Formation1 January, 1995
First holderPeter Sutherland
DeputyDeputy Director-Generals

The Director-General of the World Trade Organization is the officer of the World Trade Organization responsible for supervising and directing the organization's administrative operations. Because World Trade Organizations' decisions are made by member states (through either a Ministerial Conference or through the General Council), the Director-General has little power over matters of policy - the role is primarily advisory and managerial. The Director-General supervises the WTO secretariat of about 700 staff and is appointed by WTO members for a term of four years.[1]

The current Director-General is Roberto Azevêdo of Brazil, since 1 September 2013.[2]

Before the creation of the WTO, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade had a series of Directors-General. Peter Sutherland was the last DG of GATT and the first of the WTO.

Past Directors-General

This is a list of former holders of the office of director-general. The post was created in 1995, although the earlier office of Executive Secretary is often seen as a direct equivalent.[3]

Name Portrait Took office Left office Country
1 Peter Sutherland
1 July 1993 1 May 1995 Republic of Ireland Ireland
2 Renato Ruggiero
Renato Ruggiero.jpg
1 May 1995 1 September 1999 Italy Italy
3 Mike Moore
Mike Moore.jpg
1 September 1999 1 September 2002 New Zealand New Zealand
4 Supachai Panitchpakdi
Supachai Panitchpakdi.jpg
1 September 2002 1 September 2005 Thailand Thailand
5 Pascal Lamy
Pascal Lamy, 2006.jpg
1 September 2005 1 September 2013 France France
6 Roberto Azevedo
Roberto Azevedo cropped.jpg
1 September 2013 incumbent
(planned on 31 August 2020)[4]
Brazil Brazil


  1. ^ See document WT/L/509, accessible from
  2. ^ McClanahan, Paige (8 May 2013). "Roberto Azevêdo to be named new World Trade Organisation chief". Guardian. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
  3. ^ "Previous GATT and WTO Directors-General". WTO. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
  4. ^ "WTO chief Roberto Azevêdo to step down early". The Financial Times. 14 May 2020.