José Ángel Gurría is the secretary-general of the OECD.
As Mexico’s Minister of Foreign Affairs from December 1994 to January 1998, he made dialogue and consensus-building one of the hallmarks of his approach to global issues. From January 1998 to December 2000, he was Mexico’s minister of finance and public credit. For the first time in a generation, he steered Mexico’s economy through a change of administration without a recurrence of the financial crises that had previously dogged such changes.
As OECD secretary-general, since June 2006, Gurría has reinforced the OECD’s role as a ‘hub” for global dialogue and debate on economic policy issues while pursuing internal modernization and reform. Under his leadership, the OECD has expanded its membership to include Chile, Estonia, Israel and Slovenia and opened accession talks with Russia. It has also strengthened its links with other major emerging economies, including Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa, with a view to possible membership. The OECD is now an active participant in both the G-8 and the G-20 Summit processes. Mr. Gurría has also reinforced the impact of OECD work in several domains, and has steered the launching of high profile initiatives, including several strategies in the domain of innovation, green growth, gender, development, and skills. He also launched the “New Approaches to Economic Challenges”, an OECD reflection process on the lessons from the crisis with the aim to upgrade OECD’s analytical frameworks and develop a comprehensive agenda for sustainable and inclusive growth.
Gurría has participated in various international not-for-profit bodies, including the Population Council, based in New York, and the Center for Global Development based in Washington. He chaired the International Task Force on Financing Water for All and continues to be deeply involved in water issues, being a member of the United Nations Secretary General Advisory Board (UNSGAB) and of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Water Security. He is also a member of the International Advisory Board of Governors of the Centre for International Governance Innovation, based in Canada, the Advisory Board for the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF), co-hosted by Korea and Denmark, and was recently appointed as a member of the Royal Academy of Economic and Financial Sciences of Spain.
A regular contributor to some of the world’s leading newspapers and journals, Mr. Gurría has received several awards and decorations from more than 25 countries, including the titles of Grand officier de la Légion d’honneur and Chevalier dans l’ordre du Mérite agricole, awarded by the French Government. He has received Honorary Degrees from the Universities of Leeds, Haifa and Bratislava. Most recently, he was distinguished by the President of Korea with the Gwangwha Medal for Diplomatic Service, and also received a recognition to his longstanding contribution to the development of public administration in Mexico, the Medalla al Mérito Administrativo Internacional “Gustavo Martínez Cabañas”, awarded by the Instituto Nacional de Administración Pública (INAP). In 2007, Mr. Gurría was the first recipient of the Globalist of the Year Award of the Canadian International Council to honour his efforts as a global citizen to promote trans-nationalism, inclusiveness and a global consciousness.
Mr. Gurría holds a B.A. degree in economics from UNAM (Mexico), and a M.A. degree in economics from Leeds University (United Kingdom). He speaks Spanish, French, English, Portuguese, Italian and some German.