UN System Chief Executives

April 2017: The United Nations System consists of the central political organization, its 11 subsidiary entities, 15 autonomous Specialized Agencies and two related bodies, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the World Trade Organization.  The Chief Executives Board  (CEB) of the UN System meets twice a year under the chairmanship of the UN Secretary-General to consider policy and management issues of general concern. Its membership in January 2017 is as follows: 

United Nations (UN):Secretary-General  Antonio Guterres (Portugal) took office on 1 January 2017 for a five year term ending on 31 December 2021.  HQ: New York, United States.

International Labor Organization (ILO):  Director-General Guy Ryder (Britain) Took office in 2012 for term expiring in September 2017. He has been appointed to a second term beginning in October 2017. HQ: Geneva, Switzerland.

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO): Director-General José Graziano da Silva (Brazil) . Re-elected in June 2015 to a second term (31 July 2015 to through July 2019). HQ Rome, Italy.

UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO): Director-General Irina Bokova (Bulgaria).  Second term ends November 2017.  Candidates (see column on left) nominated by Azerbaijan, China, Egypt, France, Guatemala, Iraq, Lebanon, Qatar, and Vietnam were interviewed on 26-27 April. The interviews are now available online.   HQ: Paris, France.

International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO):Secretary-General Fang Liu (China). Serving three-year term (1 August 2015 to 31 July 2018) HQ: Montreal, Canada

World Health Organization (WHO):Director-General Margaret Chan  (China). Now serving second five-year term ending 30 June 2017. On 23 May the WHO Assembly picked Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesusof Ethiopia to be the 8th D-G.  HQ: Geneva, Switzerland.

World Bank (IBRD): President Jim Yong Kim (United States). Appointed to a renewable five-year term (1 July 2012 to 30 June 2017). Eligible for reappointment.  HQ: Washington, United States.

International Monetary Fund (IMF): Managing Director Christine Lagarde (France). Second five-year term beginning 5 July 2016. HQ: Washington, United States. 

Universal Postal Union (UPU): Director-General Bishar Abdirahman Hussein (Kenya) was appointed to a second four-year term beginning 1 January 2017. The reappointment was by acclamation at the 26th Universal Postal Congress in Istanbul, Turkey in October 2016. The UPU web site is the worst in the UN System. It is badly organized and quite a few links seem to be broken. HQ: Berne, Switzerland.

International Telecommunications Union (ITU):Secretary-General Houlin Zhao (China) Serving his first four year term (2015-2018). HQ: Geneva, Switzerland.

World Meteorological Organization (WMO): Secretary-General Petteri Taalas  (Finland) Serving a four-year term that began on 1 January 2016. HQ: Geneva, Switzerland.

International Maritime Organization (IMO): Secretary-General Kitack Lim  (Republic of Korea) Began a four-year term on 1 January 2016. HQ: London, United Kingdom.

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO): Director-General Francis Gurry(Australia) Has been in office since 1 October 2008 and his second six-year term will see him through September 2020; but there have been charges of corruption and calls by UN Staff unions for his ouster. HQ: Geneva, Switzerland.

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD): President Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo(Togo). Began his first four-year term on 1 April 2017. HQ: Rome, Italy 


UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO):Director-General Li Yong(China). Serving a four year term that ends in 2017. Eligible for reappointment.  HQ: Vienna, Austria 

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA): Director-General Yukiya Amano(Japan) Now in his second four-year term that ends November 2017. No information on web site about succession process. HQ: Vienna, Austria. 

World Trade Organization (WTO): Director-General Roberto Carvalho de Azevêdo (Brazil). Serving a four-year term that ends in August 2017. Azavedo is standing for re-election and is the sole candidate. HQ: Geneva, Switzerland.

World Tourism Organization (UNWTO): Secretary-General Taleb Rifai  (Jordan) Serving second four-year term that began on 1 January 2014. Amidst charges of foul play in the Press, the WTO Executive Council picked Zurab Pololikashvili of Georgia to be the next leader of the organization. HQ: Madrid, Spain  

 UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD): Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi (Kenya) First term began on 1 September, 2013. In June 2017, the Secretary-General asked the General Assembly to confirm Mr. Kituyi's appointment for a second term. HQ: Geneva, Switzerland. 

UN Development Program (UNDP): Achim Steiner (Germany), former head of UNEP, was nominated on 13 April 2017 to replace Helen Clark of New Zealand as  Administrator of UNDP.  See story. HQ: New York, United States.

UN Environment Program (UNEP): Executive Director Erik Solheim(Norway) Serving first four-year term beginning June 2016. HQ: Nairobi, Kenya.

 UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):High Commissioner Filippo Grandi  (Italy) Serving first five-year term beginning 1 January 2016. HQ: Geneva, Switzerland.

UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA): Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl (Switzerland). Serving a four-year term beginning 30 March 2014.  HQ: Amman, Jordan and Gaza City, Gaza.

UN International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF): Executive Director Anthony Lake (United States). Serving second four-year term that began May 2014, HQ: New York, United States

UN Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA)Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin (Nigeria) Serving a second four-year term that began on 1 January 2015. HQ: New York, United States. 

World Food Program:Executive Director David Beasley (United States) First term began in April 2017. Eligible for reappointment HQ: Rome, Italy


UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC): Executive Director Yury Fedotov  (Russian Federation) Serving second term that began in July 2015. HQ: Vienna, Austria

​UN Habitat - Human Settlements Program: Mr. Executive Director Joan Clos (Spain) Serving his second five year term that began in October 2015. HQ: Nairobi, Kenya.  

UN Women:Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (South Africa) Five-year term began on 19 August 2013. HQ: New York, United Nations

UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS):Executive Director Grete Faremo  (Finland) Serving five year term that began in August 2014

International Organization for Migration (IOM) Director-General William Lacy Swing (United States). Serving second five-year term that began on 1 October 2013. IOM formally joined the UN System in September 2016.

Much Churn in UN System in 2017

Nine executive heads of UN System agencies will see their terms end in 2017 (with some eligible for reappointment).  Update info in main column.

IAEA: November

IFAD:  March 

ILO: September

UNCTAD: September

UNDP: March

UNESCO: November


World Bank: June

World Food Program: April  

World Health Organization:​ May 


Polad BÜLBÜLOGLU (Azerbaijan) 

PHAM Sanh Chau (Vietnam)

Moushira KHATTAB (Egypt) 
Abdulaziz AL-KAWARI  (Qatar) 
Qian TANG