The 25th Universal Postal Congress today elected Kenyaâ€™s Bishar A. Hussein as director general of the Universal Postal Union for 2013-2016.
Hussein is a former ambassador and postal executive, who served as chairman of the UPUâ€™s Council of Administration from 2009-2012.
Member countries selected him over Uruguayâ€™s Serrana Bassini Casco, currently secretary general of the Postal Union of the Americas, Spain and Portugal, a restricted union of the UPU based in Montevideo, Uruguay.
One hundred and fifty-nine countries out of the UPUâ€™s 192 membership were eligible to vote. Of these, 87 supported Hussein, against 72 for Bassini Casco.
â€œI accept with humility the honour and privilege given to me today,â€ said Hussein, shortly after being elected. â€œUnder my watch, the UPU will work to fulfill the mandates given to it by this Congress. We will take the UPU to the next level.â€
Hussein looks back on a long career in postal matters, having spent 15 years working for the Kenya Posts and Telecommunications Corporation before being appointed the first Postmaster General of the Postal Corporation of Kenya when it split from KP&TC in 1999. He was then appointed Kenyaâ€™s ambassador to the United Arab Emirates in 2002, a position he held for five years. He also chaired the 24th UPU Congress held in Geneva and became the chairman of the Council of Administration from 2009-2012.
As director general, he will run the day-to-day operations at the UPUâ€™s International Bureau in Berne, Switzerland, represent the UPU at major international meetings, and act as secretary general during the annual meetings of the organizationâ€™s official bodies, the Council of Administration and the Postal Operations Council. He will also act as secretary general of the Universal Postal Congress, which convenes every four years.
Hussein will take over from current UPU Director General Edouard Dayan in January 2013. A French national, Dayan will retire at the end of this year after eight years at the helm.
Swiss wins deputy position
Pascal-Thierry Clivaz, from Switzerland, was also elected as UPU deputy director general, against Dennis Delehanty, from the United States of America.
â€œI am very honoured of the trust given to me by the 25th UPU Congress,â€ he said after his election. â€œI look forward to pursuing reforms at the UPU and supporting the new director general in the initiatives that will be taken as the UPU faces various challenges.â€
Clivaz has been director of finance and strategic planning at UPU headquarters in Berne since 2005. He is a former executive of the Swiss Post and was a Swiss delegate at the UPU before joining the organization in 2005.
He will take over from Chinaâ€™s Guozhong Huang, who finishes his second mandate in that position at the end of this year.