Thursday, June 24, 2021

Australia’s Mathias Cormann at the OECD helm

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Tuesday, 1 June 2021, Paris, French Republic:  Erstwhile Australian Minister for Finance (2013 to 2020), and Western Australian Senator for the Liberal Party (2007 to 2020), Mathias Cormann, took office today as the first Australian citizen to serve in the capacity as Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Mathias Cormann (born on 20 September 1970 in Eupen, Belgium) is a long-time Liberal politician, born and raised in Belgium’s German-speaking community. His seven year and 42-day tenure as Minister for Finance was the longest hitherto in Australian history, spanning the AbbottTurnbull, and Morrison governments.

Additionally he served as Minister for the Public Service from 2018 to 2019, Special Minister of State from 2015 to 2016, and again from 2017 to 2018 and since 2019 until his governmental resignation in late 2020. Cormann served as the Leader of the Government in the Senate and the Vice-President of the Executive Council. On 12 March 2021 he won the elections held to succeed to the helm of the OECD after the terms of Mexican economist and former chief of diplomacy, José Ángel Gurría Treviño

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD; in French: Organisation de Coopération et de Développement Économiques, OCDE) is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 38 member countries, founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress, and world trade. The OECD’s headquarters are located at the Château de la Muette in Paris, France. 

Generally, OECD members are high-income economies with a very high Human Development Index (HDI) and are regarded as developed countries. As of 2017, the OECD member countries collectively comprised 62.2 % of global nominal GDP (US$49.6 trillion) and 42.8 % of global GDP (Int$54.2 trillion) at purchasing power parity. The OECD is an official United Nations observer.

The OECD does not have the power to enforce its decisions, which further require a unanimous vote from its members, however, it is recognised as a highly influential publisher of mostly economic data through publications as well as annual evaluations and rankings of member countries

In 1948, the OECD originated as the ‘Organisation for European Economic Co-operation’ (OEEC), to help administer the Marshall Plan in Western European countries. In 1961, the OEEC was reformed into the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and membership was extended to non-European states

In January 2018, Secretary-General Cormann was awarded with the rank of ‘Grand Cross with Star and Sash of the Order of Merit’ of the Federal Republic of Germany for his work “in advancing German-Australian relations”. 

Secretary-General Mathias Cormann speaks fluent German, French, Dutch and English. He holds law degrees from the University of Namur as well as the KU Leuven, both in Belgium. 

For further information

OECD: https://www.oecd.org
Profile as a former Australian Senator: https://www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Parliamentarian?MPID=HDA

Mathias Cormann – Picture by Commonwealth of Australia through Wikipedia Commons

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