Former IUCN Directors General

IUCN has benefited from the leadership of many illustrious personalities from various parts of the world. Former Directors General brought experience from organisations such as the World Bank, GIZ, universities and national governments in contributing to IUCN and its mission.

IUCN Directors General 1948-2023

Grethel Aguilar

2023-Present (Costa Rica)

Bruno Oberle

2020-2023 (Switzerland)

Grethel Aguilar (acting)

2019-2020 (Costa Rica)

Inger Andersen

2015-2019 (Denmark)

Julia Marton-Lefèvre

2006-2014 (France, Hungary)

Ibrahim Thiaw (acting)

2006 (Mauritania)

Achim Steiner

2001-2006 (Brazil, Germany)

William Jackson (acting)

2001 (Australia)

Simon Stuart (acting)

2000-2001 (United Kingdom)

Maritta Koch-Weser

1999-2001 (Germany)

David McDowell

1994-1999  (New Zealand)

Martin Holdgate

1988-1994 (United Kingdom)

Kenton Miller

1983-1988 (USA)

Pierre Goeldlin (acting)

1982 (Switzerland)

Lee M. Talbot

1980-1982 (USA)

David Munro

1977-1980 (Canada)

Duncan Poore (acting)

1976-1977 (United Kingdom)

Gerardo Budowski

1970-1976 (Venezuela, Germany)

Joe Berwick

1966-1970 (United Kingdom)

Hugh Elliott

1963-1966 (United Kingdom)

Gerald Watterson

1962 (United Kingdom)

M.C. Bloemers

1959-1960 (Netherlands)

Tracy Philipps (acting)

1955-1958 (United Kingdom)

Jean-Paul Harroy

1948-1955 (Belgium)


Dr Bruno Oberle led as Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) from July 2020 to June 2023. Before joining IUCN, Dr Bruno Oberle served in some of Switzerland’s most prestigious positions related to the environment, such as State Secretary for the Environment, and Director of the Federal Office for the Environment for Switzerland. Dr Oberle is a leading expert in the fields of sustainable resource management and green economy.