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International Telecommunication Union
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ITU Secretary-General, Deputy Secretary-General elected today by Plenipotentiary Conference
Landslide majority obtained

Antalya, Turkey, 10 November 2006 — Member States of the International Telecommunication Union elected Mr Hamadoun I. Touré of Mali as Secretary-General of ITU for a four-year term. The election took place in Antalya, Turkey during the 17th ITU Plenipotentiary Conference. Mr Touré won the position with 95 votes with 155 countries present and voting, and thus the required majority for election was 78 votes.

The majority emerged in the third round of voting, with Mr Mathias Kurth of Germany receiving 60 votes.

Addressing the Conference after the results of the vote, Mr Touré told the 1500 delegates from around the world that he would work with transparency, objectivity and vigour to realize the two main objectives that were central to his campaign: to eliminate the digital divide and to ensure that cyberspace would become more secure. He said, "The Millennium Development Goals that were endorsed by all the world’s leaders as well as the WSIS resolutions are the ingredients we need to get down to work."

Mr Hamadoun Touré holds a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering from the Technical Institute of Electronics and Telecommunications of Leningrad and Doctor of Philosophy Degree (PhD) from the University of Electronics, Telecommunications and Informatics of Moscow. After six years at the Office des Postes et Télécommunications du Mali (OPT) Mali, he joined Intelsat as Group Director & Regional Director in 1985 until he became Director-General, Africa, of ICO Global Communications in 1996. Elected Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau in 1998, he was elected for a second term in 2002.

For a biography of the new Secretary-General, click here.

In the afternoon’s election, Houlin Zhao of China was elected Deputy Secretary-General in the first round with 93 votes. Carlos Sánchez of Spain obtained 34 votes while T. Ayhan Beydoğan of Turkey received 28. John Ray Kwabena Tandoh of Ghana had announced the withdrawal of his candidature prior to the start of the election.

Thanking the members and, in particular, the People's Republic of China, for placing their confidence in him, Houlin Zhao remarked that the post of Deputy Secretary-General holds a strategic importance in the Union. He said that he would do his best to assist the Secretary-General elect and the three Directors as well as the membership to make ITU a more dynamic organization that would contribute to the emerging global Information Society. As outgoing Director of TSB, he said he was confident that "ITU-T will meet the future challenges of ICT standardization this century."

Graduated from Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications, China in 1975, Mr Zhao received a Master degree of Science in telematics, University of Essex (United Kingdom) in 1985. From 1975 to 1986, he held various engineering positions at Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, China. In 1986, he joined ITU as a staff member of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) until his election as Director of the TSB in 1998. He was re-elected in his position at the 2002 Marrakesh Plenipotentiary Conference.

For a biography of the Deputy Secretary-General elect Zhao, click here.

Outgoing Secretary-General Yoshio Utsumi leaves behind him a more efficient and effective organization, offering a wider portfolio of more relevant services that led to a 19 per cent increase in private sector membership and a recommitment of the private sector to the work of ITU. His tenure was characterized by efficiency measures that led to savings equivalent to CHF 75 million out of a total budget of CHF 335 million on average per biennium as well as the introduction of operational planning, results-based budgeting and time-tracking across the organization, resulting in a substantial overhaul of the organization. Along with cost recovery, these measures created new sources of revenue that led to a reduction in the contributions to be paid by members, despite growing demands and cost increases.

From a strategic perspective, Mr Utsumi successfully refocused ITU as a policy-oriented organization by introducing new issues to ensure its continuing relevance, with the successful organization of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) which provides a common understanding and vision as well as a clear roadmap to building the Information Society by 2015. He also strengthened the role of ITU in the coordination of policy issues among Member States. Through this process, ITU has asserted its leading role in the broader domain of the Information Society.

For more details on the election results, click here.

Photos of the elections are available to accredited media here.

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Updated : 2006-11-14