Former 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.


Previous Director General

IUCN Director General Inger Andersen delivers IUCN's official statement to UNFCCC COP23 Photo: IISD/ENB - Kiara Worth

Inger Andersen was appointed Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in January 2015 and served through May 2019. Prior to joining IUCN, Ms Andersen held various leadership roles at the World Bank and United Nations. Ms Andersen’s educational background includes a BA from London Metropolitan University North and a MA degree from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London with specialisation in development economics. Following IUCN, Inger Andersen joined UN Environment as Executive Director.


IUCN Directors General 1948-2019

Name Dates Nationality
Bruno Oberle 2020-present 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



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