Dr Jong-Wook Lee nominated to be WHO director-general

Dr Jong-Wook Lee was nominated by the World Health Organisation’s Executive Board for the post of director-general of the agency. The director-general is WHO’s chief technical and administrative officer and sets the policy for the organisation’s international health work. The nomination is expected to be confirmed in May.

Dr Lee, aged 57 and from Seoul, Republic of Korea, trained at Seoul National University and the University of Hawaii.

He has worked at WHO for 19 years in technical, managerial and policy positions, notably leading the fight against two of the greatest challenges to health and development: tuberculosis and vaccine preventable diseases of children. After heading the WHO Global Programme for Vaccines and Immunisations and serving as a Senior Policy Advisor, he became, in 2000, Director of the Stop TB programme, a coalition of more than 250 international partners including states, donors, non-governmental organisations, industry and foundations.

Dr Lee speaks English, Korean and Japanese, and reads French and Chinese.

Currently chaired by Professor Kyaw Myint, the 32-member WHO Executive Board heard oral presentations of each candidate’s vision of the future priorities and challenges for the organisation and questioned the applicants. At the end of January, it voted on the five short-listed candidates.

His name will be submitted for approval to the 56th World Health Assembly in Geneva in May 2003.

Dr Lee will succeed Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland whose decision not to stand for a second term was announced in August last year. The new director-general will take office and start his five-year term on 21 July 2003.

Source: World Health Organisation

Webcast of the first ever public forum of WHO Director General candidates answering questions about the most critical issues in global health today:

Coverage of election in The Lancet:


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