Economic policy – OECD confirms Australian Cormann as new boss

Australia’s ex-finance minister Mathias Cormann will lead the industrial nations organization OECD from June 1st. The ambassadors of the 37 member states confirmed the 50-year-old as the new Secretary General, as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) announced in Paris on Monday.

The Cormann, who comes from the German-speaking east of Belgium, succeeds the Mexican Angel Gurría. In the mid-1990s, Cormann emigrated to Australia, where he rose in politics. Activists had criticized him during his OECD candidacy for Australian climate policy. He is the first man from the Asia-Pacific region to head the OECD.

It was already clear on Friday that Cormann is supported by the majority of the OECD countries. Former EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström from Sweden lost out.

Five-year term

The term of office of the new OECD chief runs for five years. The OECD is an important think tank. It plays a central role in the global tug-of-war over the taxation of large digital corporations.

Cormann was Australia’s Finance Minister for the liberal-conservative Liberal Party from 2013 to 2020 – and thus longer in this office than any of his predecessors. He was born in Eupen near the border with Germany, went to school in Liège and studied law in Namur and Leuven. Cormann has lived in Australia since 1996.

Shortly afterwards he became politically active. He has been an Australian citizen since 2000. From 2003 to 2004 he was vice chairman of the Liberal Party in the state of Western Australia. Cormann is a consistent advocate of low taxes, open markets and free trade. (dpa)

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