GENEVA – The World Trade Organization has settled on Roberto Azevedo of Brazil, a well-known diplomat and consummate insider in Geneva circles, to serve as its director general for the next four years, officials said Tuesday.
The directorship is chosen by consensus in a complex and secretive process, and the runner-up is expected to concede afterward. Diplomats emerged from consultations Tuesday to rush past journalists out of the building, barely acknowledging that Azevedo had defeated Mexican former trade minister Herminio Blanco in the final round.
Two diplomats confirmed Azevedo's selection to journalists on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to reveal the winner ahead of the formal announcement, but Azevedo also re-tweeted that he has been chosen for the job and comments from various trade circles began trickling in.
A formal announcement on his selection is not expected until Wednesday.
In Washington, Jack Colvin, a vice president of the National Foreign Trade Council, said Azevedo's selection reflects "his extensive experience and deep familiarity with international trade institutions and processes on behalf of Brazil and the focus he has placed on consensus-building in Geneva."
Under WTO rules, a meeting of member-nations must be convened no later than May 31 to formally appoint Azevedo.