IFOAM selects Executive Director
by Redaktion (comments: 0)
After a three-month worldwide search and review of dozens of qualified applicants, the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements selected Markus Arbenz (picture) to serve as its next executive director. Mr Arbenz, currently the Executive Director of IFOAM member Bio Suisse, will take up the leadership and management of operations and oversee the 15 professional staff on 1 August 2009. “Managing a complex organization like IFOAM takes vision, diplomacy, energy, and leadership skill. Markus is just the person for the job,” said Katherine DiMatteo, president of IFOAM. “The hiring team was impressed with the way Markus approaches challenges, his knowledge of and commitment to Organic Agriculture, and his experience in managing people and agricultural projects around the world.”
“I want sustainable land and animal use for the betterment of all to be a reality this century, and working as IFOAM’s executive director will give me an opportunity to help make that vision a reality,” said Mr Arbenz. “Working as Executive Director of Bio Suisse has given me deep insight in all aspects of leading a democratic organization. I look forward to using that experience to keep a balance between the interests of all the stakeholders and enacting the vision of transforming the whole agricultural sector to sustainable organic practices. IFOAM has always been a home for the Swiss organic stakeholders and I’ve always been proud to be part. Now, I am excited to build links with the people from the organic movement all over.”
With work experiences in Switzerland, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bosnia, Nepal, India, Bolivia, Ivory Coast, South Africa and Israel, Mr Arbenz literally brings a world of experience to the position. He is a generalist in animal husbandry and international co-operation who has not only been an organic farmer raising endangered sheep, goat, pig, poultry and bee breeds, but also served in key leadership positions. Mr Arbenz’ achievements include increasing the brand recognition for the Bio Suisse “bud” logo, planning and initial implementation of the Improved Livelihoods to Rural Communities project for Helvetas/Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) in rural Afghanistan, and a serving as a visiting research fellow at the Renewable Natural Resources Research Centre in Jakar, Bhutan. He understands six languages, and plans to move to Bonn with his wife and infant daughter.