New Director General of International Labor Organization Selected

Britain’s Guy Ryder reaches out to global employers after securing election on sixth ballot
Guy Ryder
Guy Ryder

Geneva and New York, May 31, 2012 – The Governing Body of the International Labor Organization (ILO) elected Guy Ryder of the United Kingdom to be its tenth director general on Tuesday in Geneva, according to the United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which serves as the ILO’s U.S. employer member. Ryder, the first person with a trade union background to gain the ILO’s top post, is currently the ILO’s executive director for international labor standards.

Ryder was elected to a five-year term by a vote of 30-26, after six rounds of voting eliminated the other eight candidates for the post. He will succeed Juan Somavia of Chile, who has held the post for the past 13 years, in September.

The ILO sets global labor and workplace standards, and serves as a forum for discussion of employment and related social matters. Its tripartite structure, unique among international organizations, encompasses participation from governments, employers organizations and trade unions. The latter two groups account for half of the ILO Governing Body’s 56 members.

“Guy is both well known and well liked among employers at the ILO,” said USCIB Executive Vice President Ronnie Goldberg, a member of the Governing Body. “We know we can work constructively with Guy on urgent issues of ILO management and reform, and we have every expectation of having a good working relationship with him.”

Ryder’s first official engagement as ILO director general-elect was to address the general council of the International Organization of Employers (IOE), where he stressed the essential role of employers in the ILO and pledged to lead the organization on behalf of all of its constituents. The Geneva-based IOE, part of USCIB’s global network, serves as the business voice in the ILO and other international bodies.

In his well received address, Ryder said: “It is incumbent on the ILO and its leadership to do everything possible to make sure that the ILO is relevant to business, is useful to business and reaches out to business.” He assured employers of the ILO’s cooperation, outreach and understanding, and also called on them to engage with the organization and lay out their perspectives and expectations. “Success would be achieved together, or not at all,” Ryder stated.

Daniel Funes de Rioja, the IOE’s executive vice president, noted that, although the employers group had backed a government-proposed candidate, the time had come to move on from the election process, and to look ahead to solving the challenges of the global employment crisis together. “We are ready to work together in a constructive way, and we give our new ILO director general our full commitment to do so,” he said.

Ryder served as general secretary of the International Trade Union Congress from 2002 to 2010. He has also held positions with the UK Trade Union Congress and the International Federation of Commercial, Clerical, Professional and Technical Employees.

About USCIB:

USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and regulatory coherence. Its members include U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms from every sector of our economy, with operations in every region of the world. With a unique global network encompassing leading international business organizations, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment.

Through USCIB’s affiliation with the International Organization of Employers, which represents employers in the International Labor Organization, American business participates directly in the work of the ILO. A senior USCIB executive is one of 14 employer representatives on the ILO Governing Body, and USCIB coordinates the U.S. employer delegation to the annual ILO International Labor Conference. USCIB also represents business on the U.S. President’s Committee on the ILO and the Tripartite Advisory Panel on International Labor Standards (TAPILS). More at


Jonathan Huneke, VP communications, USCIB
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Kira Yevtukhova manages USCIB’s print and online publications, including the website, e-newsletter and quarterly magazine, and serves as the organization’s digital media strategist. Prior to this role, Kira worked for over five years within USCIB’s Policy Department, focusing on climate change, environment, nutrition, health, and chemicals related policy issues. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and has an MBA from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.
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