Australia’s former finance minister Mathias Cormann has been elected as the new head of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The 50-year-old will become the first person from Asia-Pacific to lead the Paris-based, 37-nation organisation, and takes the role in the middle of one of the worst global recessions on record.

“It would be a privilege and an honour to take on the leadership of the OECD … it brings together like-minded countries from around the world committed to developing and delivering better policies for better lives,” Mr Cormann said in a statement.

Earlier Greece’s Anna Diamantopoulou dropped her bid to head the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, leaving just two candidates in the race.

The former European Commissioner withdrew “in an effort to facilitate consensus in the selection process,” Diamantopoulou said in a Twitter post.

Cecilia Malmstrom of Sweden and former Australian Finance Minister Mathias Cormann were left in the running to replace Secretary General Angel Gurria.


Prime Minister Scott Morrison made the following statement:

«I am delighted that the 38 member nations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have chosen Australia’s representative the Hon Mathias Cormann to be the organisation’s next Secretary-General.

The appointment is recognition of Australia’s global agency and standing amongst fellow liberal democracies and our practical commitment and contribution to multilateral co-operation.

This is a great honour for Mathias who has worked tirelessly over several months to engage with leaders, senior ministers and officials of OECD member nations from Europe, Asia and the Americas.

This is the most senior appointment of an Australian candidate to an international body for decades.

Australia overcame great odds for Mathias Cormann to be successful in the contest, which comprised nine other high calibre candidates, including six from Europe.

For 60 years, the OECD has been one of the world’s most important international economic institutions.

As the global economy recovers from COVID19, the OECD’s role in shaping international economic, tax and climate change policy will be more critical than ever.

#Mathias’ work and life experience in both Europe and Australia, his outstanding record as Finance Minister and Senate leader and his expertise in international economic diplomacy will ensure he makes an outstanding contribution as leader of the OECD.

I thank my ministerial colleagues, the work of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the broader diplomatic network for their determined efforts in support of this effort.

I also thank the Federal Opposition for their bipartisan support for the candidacy».