Fatih Birol ushers in new era for IEA

1 September 2015

Fatih Birol today took office as the new Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), ushering in a new era for the global energy authority. Having worked at the IEA for 20 years, he starts the job with an intimate knowledge of where its strengths lie and where – and how – it can improve its ability to effectively respond to the changes taking place in the global energy landscape.

Dr. Birol’s selection as IEA Executive Director marks one of the rare occasions that the head of an international organisation has been selected from within its ranks.

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

Well known and respected internationally for his work in the energy field, Dr. Birol joined the IEA in 1995 and most recently held the positions of Chief Economist and Director of Global Energy Economics, with responsibilities that included directing the flagship World Energy Outlook publication. He is also the founder and chair of the IEA Energy Business Council, which provides a forum to enhance co-operation between decision-makers in the highest levels of government and industry.

Earlier in his career, Dr. Birol served in the Secretariat of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), an experience which gives him a unique perspective on the producer-consumer relationship. He has also been a member of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Group on Sustainable Energy for All and was named by Forbes magazine among the most influential people on the world’s energy scene. He is the recipient of numerous awards from governments from all parts of the world.

A Turkish citizen, Dr. Birol was born in Ankara in 1958. After initially studying power engineering at the University of Istanbul, he went on to receive a MSc and PhD in energy economics from the Technical University of Vienna and a Doctorate honoris causa from Imperial College London. He is an honorary lifetime member of Galatasaray Football Club.

Dr. Birol becomes the seventh Executive Director to lead the IEA, which was founded in 1974. He succeeds former Dutch Minister Maria van der Hoeven.

Follow Dr. Birol on Twitter at @IEABirol