Process Set For 2014 Election Of WIPO Director General; Competition Brewing

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The process for the 2014 election of the director general of the World Intellectual Property Organization is now available. And according to sources, the incumbent may have some competition for the post.

The current term of WIPO Director General Francis Gurry runs through 30 September 2014. He took office on 1 October 2008.

Nominations from WIPO member states will be accepted from September until no later than 6 December.

Gurry, a long-time WIPO official who is originally from Australia, has previously indicated his intention to run for re-election. It is typical for a director general to be elected for a second (and final) term.

Sources say that Geoffrey Onyeama, WIPO Deputy Director General for the Development Sector, has been put forward to members as a possible candidate by the Nigerian foreign affairs office. Onyeama was a Nigerian attorney before joining WIPO.

In addition, sources said that there is some dissatisfaction with Gurry within Gurry’s own Group B, the developed country members of WIPO. A Group B source mentioned concerns over management of the organisation.

Names from some other countries and regions, including Europe and South America, have been circulated by member states in the WIPO hallways in recent weeks but none could be confirmed as serious candidates.


On 6 September, the WIPO Coordination Committee, the member state executive body, is expected to mail a circular to member states inviting proposals of candidates.

At its 6-7 March 2014 session, the Coordination Committee is expected to nominate the candidate for appointment as director general.

The secretariat has requested a special session of the WIPO General Assemblies on 8-9 May 2014, to appoint the new director general.

The General Assemblies would be held early (ahead of the usual September timeframe) in order to allow the new director general to nominate his/her senior management team in time for them to be approved at the September Coordination Council meeting.

A WIPO memorandum on the appointment of the director general in 2014 is available here.

William New may be reached at

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