Fatih Birol Assumes IEA Leadership, Visits China
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Fatih Birol has begun his term as the new Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Birol, a Turkish citizen, succeeds former Dutch economy minister Maria van der Hoeven as the Agency's head.

Birol joined the Agency in 1995, where he has acted as Chief Economist and Director of Global Energy Economics.

Prior to joining the IEA, Birol served in the Secretariat of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

IEA1 September 2015: Fatih Birol has begun his term as the new Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA). Birol, a Turkish citizen, succeeds former Dutch economy minister Maria van der Hoeven as the Agency’s head. Birol joined the Agency in 1995, where he has acted as Chief Economist and Director of Global Energy Economics. Prior to joining the IEA, Birol served in the Secretariat of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Birol said, “It is the privilege of a lifetime to be chosen to run the IEA, and I am deeply honored by the trust that each one of our 29 member countries has placed in me.”

In a departure from tradition, Birol made his first official foreign visit to China, a non-IEA member. To join the IEA, a country must be a member of the Organisation for Ecconomic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which China is not.

During his visit to Beijing, China, Birol delivered his first major public address as IEA head to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). In his address, Birol shared his “personal vision to modernize the IEA.” He stressed the need for further cooperation between China and the IEA, underscoring that for “China’s sake, and also for the sake of the rest of the world, it is vitally important that China be a full participant in the international energy debate.” [IEA Press Release, 1 September] [IEA Press Release, 9 September] [Birol’s Address to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences] [IISD RS Story on Birol’s Appointment]

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