Maria van der Hoeven took over as Executive Director of the IEA on 1 September 2011. Previously, Ms. Van der Hoeven served as Minister of Economic Affairs of the Netherlands from February 2007 to October 2010, during which time she demonstrated leadership on energy policy at the national, regional and global levels.
As Executive Director of the IEA, Ms. Van der Hoeven has steered the agency during a period of exceptional change in the global energy economy. The original role of the IEA has been challenged by rapidly shifting supply/demand balances for oil as well as other major fuels, affecting its members’ interests and also those within the wider global energy economy. At the same time, the global economic crisis has put a strain on resources. Ms. Van der Hoeven therefore led a strategic reorganisation of the IEA in 2012, part of an ongoing effort to reposition the agency and equip it to confront contemporary energy challenges.
Ms. Van der Hoeven is taking the initiative to address the challenges of global energy governance in the face of changing worldwide requirements. She is determined to strengthen the Agency’s role, enabling it to take the lead in the transition to a secure and sustainable energy future. One of her overarching priorities is implementing a new Global Engagement Strategy to institutionally bring in the major emerging energy players of the 21st century. Another is expanding modern energy services to the 1.3 billion people worldwide who currently lack them. In recognition of the IEA’s efforts to address the crisis of energy poverty, Ms. Van der Hoeven has been invited to serve on the Advisory Board to the UN Sustainable Energy for All initiative. She has also participated actively with other major international energy institutions, contributing to international energy dialogue at major events of IRENA, the WEF, the IEF, the Clean Energy Ministerial, APEC, ASEAN, the EU, the G20 and various other organisations.
During her tenure at the IEA, a more tactical communications strategy was launched to ensure the Agency’s extensive analysis and policy recommendations reach key audiences and have maximum impact. As a result, IEA energy statistics and flagship publications have seen record sales. The World Energy Outlook 2012 had a particularly influential impact, the Medium-Term Market Report series was augmented to include all fuels – including the “hidden fuel” of energy efficiency -- and Energy Technology Perspectives given a major overhaul.
Ms. Van der Hoeven is a fierce supporter of market principles, and it is her personal conviction that policy and business should work together to render energy production comprehensively more efficient and cleaner by improving energy efficiency, developing and using renewables, and producing and using energy otherwise generated in the cleanest possible and most cost-effective ways. At the same time, she is committed to the original and overarching mission of the IEA: promoting energy security.
Prior to becoming Minister of Economic Affairs, Ms. Van der Hoeven was Minister of Education, Culture and Science from 2002 to 2007. She was an elected member of the Netherlands House of Representatives of the States-General from 1991 to 2002. Until 1987 she was head of the Adult Commercial Vocational Training Centre in Maastricht, after which she served as head of the Limburg Technology Centre until 1991. A native Dutch speaker, Ms. Van der Hoeven is fluent in English and speaks French and German.