Former Aussie Finance Minister Picked to Head Up International Economic Corporation, OECD

March 12, 2021 Updated: March 12, 2021

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has welcomed the OECD picking former Australian finance minister Mathias Cormann as its new head.

Mathias Cormann has been selected as the new head of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in a move Prime Minister Scott Morrison calls a “recognition of Australia’s global agency.”

Cormann, Australia’s longest-serving finance minister until last year, closely edged out Sweden’s Cecilia Malmstrom to take over as secretary-general of the Paris-based organisation from outgoing Angel Gurria.

“This is a great honour for Mathias who has worked tirelessly over several months to engage with leaders, senior ministers and officials of OECD member nations from Europe, Asia and the Americas,” Morrison said in a statement on Saturday morning.

“Mathias’ work and life experience in both Europe and Australia, his outstanding record as Finance Minister and Senate leader and his expertise in international economic diplomacy will ensure he makes an outstanding contribution as leader of the OECD,” he continued.

The prime minister said it was the most senior appointment of an Australian candidate to an international body for decades.

“The appointment is recognition of Australia’s global agency and standing amongst fellow liberal democracies and our practical commitment and contribution to multilateral co-operation,” Morrison said.

Cormann said he was honoured to be selected and would focus on promoting stronger, cleaner, fairer economic growth and raising employment and living standards following the coronavirus pandemic.

“The issues and the specific policy challenges the world faces evolve over time but the OECD’s capacity to find solutions and better ways forward has stood the test of time,” he said in a statement.

“I will give the organisation and its members my absolute best and strive to make the OECD a place that inspires collaboration and action in support of a sustainable and inclusive future,” he continued.

Cormann also plans to pursue an ambitious and “global” approach to help countries become carbon-neutral by 2050, finalise a multilateral approach to digital taxation, and strengthen the outreach of the OECD into the Asia-Pacific.

He will begin his five-year term from June 1.