WIPO’s new Senior Management Team: New faces for Copyright, Development, Global Issues and Patents

A long standing parlor game for WIPO insiders and observers during the summer of 2014 involved guessing the composition of WIPO’s new Senior Management Team (the team of deputy director generals and assistant director generals who form WIPO’s cabinet). On 16 September 2014, the WIPO secretariat laid this to rest by revealing the composition of the new WIPO Senior Management Team of deputy director generals and assistant director generals. New faces in the cabinet include: Mr. Mario Matus (Chile), Deputy Director General, Development Sector, Mr. John Sandage (United States of America), Deputy Director General, Patents and Technology Sector, Ms. Anne Leer (Norway), Deputy Director General, Culture and Creative Industries Sector and Mr. Minelik Getahun (Ethiopia), Assistant Director General, Global Issues Sector. Returning cabinet members include: Ms. Wang Binying (China), Deputy Director General, Brands and Designs Sector; Mr. Yoshiyuki Takagi (Japan), Assistant Director General, Global Infrastructure Sector and Mr. Ramanathan Ambi Sundaram (Sri Lanka), Assistant Director General, Administration and Management Sector. In addition, Francis Gurry (WIPO Director General) has proposed that Mr Naresh Prasad (India) who has served as WIPO’s Chief of Staff since 2009 be promoted to the rank of Assistant Director General. An interesting aspect of these proposed cabinet appointments are that the Director General has proposed that the term for these appointments are explicitly linked with his mandate. Thus, the Director General proposes that,

the term of office of the incoming Deputy Directors General and Assistant Directors General will start on December 1, 2014, and will expire on September 30, 2020. However, should the term of office of the Director General come to an end more than six months before its stated term on September 30, 2020, the terms of office of the Deputy Directors General and Assistant Directors General will end six months after the end of the Director General’s appointment.

In terms of WIPO’s cabinet, it has long been an unwritten rule that the United States retain a cabinet post for either the Culture and Creative Industries Sector (copyright) or the Patents and Technology Sector; past US deputy director generals include Rita Hayes (Copyright), Michael Keplinger (Copyright) and James Pooley (Innovation and Technology). The replacement of James Pooley (Innovation and Technology Sector) is American citizen John Sandage who will serve as the Deputy Director General of the Patents and Technology Sector (note the change from Innovation to Patents). According to his biography, John Sandage is a career veteran of the United States Department of State (1992 to 2008) who then moved to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Vienna (2008 to the present). In his previous capacity, Sandage served as Director, Division for Treaty Affairs at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna, Austria. Some observers have pointed out that Sandage, a former State Department and UNODC functionary is not considered a “USPTO insider”. Sandage will oversee WIPO’s

WIPO’s programs on patent law, including advice on the development of national legislation and patent systems; the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT); and the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center. (Source: WO/CC/70/2)

Anne Leer, a Norwegian national, has been appointed as Deputy Director General of the Culture and Creative Industries Sector; she will oversee WIPO’s work on copyright and related rights and on communications. From 2005 to the present, Ms. Leer has been a producer and editor with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in London. Leer is the author of two books: 1) Masters of the Wired World, 1998 and 2) Welcome to the Wired World, 2000. Her Wikipedia entry states:

Anne Leer is a strategist, operational manager, public speaker, government advisor, and author. Leer also contributes articles to the newspaper press and trade journals, and lectures at business schools. She has worked for international media organisations such as Paramount, Oxford University Press, BBC, and Financial Times/Pearson. (Source: Wikipedia)

Ambassador Mario Matus, Chile’s former Ambassador and Permanent Representative (2005-2014) to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the United Nation Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the International Trade Center (ITC) has been appointed Deputy Director General of the Development Sector. His portfolio covers

WIPO’s programs on coordination of the WIPO Development Agenda; cooperation with African, Arab, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean countries and least developed countries (LDCs); and the WIPO Academy. (Source: WO/CC/70/2).

Ambassador Minelik Alemu Getahun, Permanent Representative of Ethiopia (2011 to the present) to the United Nations at Geneva and otherInternational Organization in Switzerland and Vienna, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Swiss Confederation and (non-resident) to Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania has been appointed as Assistant Director General of the Global Issues Sector. He will oversee WIPO’s work on “traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions and genetic resources; global challenges; building respect for intellectual property; and relations with other intergovernmental organizations.” (Source: WO/CC/70/2).

Ms. Wang Binying (China) returns as Deputy Director General, Brands and Designs Sector. She will

administer the Madrid System for International Trademark Registrations; the Hague System for International Design Registrations; the Lisbon System for International Registrations of Appellations of Origin; and the Organization’s programs on the law of trademarks, industrial designs and geographical indications. (Source: WO/CC/70/2).

Mr. Ramanathan Ambi Sundaram (Sri Lanka) returns as Assistant Director General for the Administration and Management Sector. Mr. Sundaram will oversee

all programs related to the administration and management of the Organization, including Finance; Results, Budget and Performance; Procurement and Travel Services; Information and Communication Technology; Conference and Language Services; and Safety and Security and Premises and Infrastructure. (Source: WO/CC/70/2).

Mr. Yoshiyuki Takagi (Japan) returns as Assistant Director General, Global Infrastructure Sector. He will oversee

WIPO’s programs on international classification systems and WIPO IP standards; global IP databases (PATENTSCOPE, Global Brands Database); international IP information services and institutions; and the modernization of infrastructure and business solutions at IP Officesand the establishment of common platforms such as WIPO CASE. (Source: WO/CC/70/2)

The secretariat document (WO/CC/70/2) on the Senior Management Team notes that 360 applications were received for the posts of Deputy Director General and Assistant Director General; over two-thirds of the applications were male and two-thirds of the applicants came from the regions of Africa, Western Europe and Asia and the Pacific. What is striking is that no member of the Senior Management Team hails from a member state of the European Union. Of the 360 applications, this pool of applicants was winnowed down to a field of 18 candidates. These candidates were invited to,

participate in a one-day assessment conducted by an external service provider.The assessment focused on the competencies outlined on the vacancy announcement such as managerial and leadership skills, communication skills and accountability and included a mix of simulation exercises and an in-depth interview. The Director General met with a senior representative of the service provider ahead of the assessment to ensure that the exercises were appropriately tailored to WIPO and covered all key elements. Seventeen candidates participated in the assessment. (Source, WO/CC/70/2).

In terms of the external service provider which assessed the short-listed candidates, it would useful to know the identity of the company which provided the assessments. On this the secretariat documents notes:

This external service provider is one of two external providers selected recently through an international tender for the provision of assessment services in the context of the enhanced professionalization of WIPO’s recruitment processes. The two service providers were invited to submit a proposal for an assessment tailored to this specific selection process and one was selected by the Director General based on their suggested methodology and the content of the assessment package which was very well adapted to WIPO’s needs.

The WIPO Coordination Committee which meets from 22 September 2014 to 30 September 2014 is invited to approve the appointments of Mr. Mario Matus, Mr. John Sandage, Ms. Wang Binying and Ms. Anne Leer as Deputy Directors General and the WIPO Coordination Committee is “invited to give its advice on the appointments as Assistant Directors General of Mr. Minelik Getahun, Mr. Yoshiyuki Takagi, Mr. Ramanathan Ambi Sundaram and Mr. Naresh Prasad.” (Source, WO/CC/70/2).