Dr. Fatih Birol took office as Executive Director on 1 September 2015, twenty years after first joining the International Energy Agency (IEA) as a junior analyst. Well known internationally for his work in the energy field, his election as Executive Director marks one of the rare occasions that the head of an international organisation has been selected internally. Prior to assuming his current duties, he held the positions of Chief Economist and Director of Global Energy Economics, with responsibilities that included directing the flagship World Energy Outlook publication.
During his career, Dr. Fatih Birol has made a significant contribution to the international policy debate on energy and climate change. He has become a sought after speaker at major international gatherings and has been regularly called upon for private meetings with world leaders.
Dr. Birol has been named by Forbes Magazine among the most powerful people in terms of influence on the world’s energy scene. He is the Chairman of the World Economic Forum’s (Davos) Energy Advisory Board and serves as a member of the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on ‘Sustainable Energy for All’. He is the recipient of numerous awards from government and industry for his contribution to energy and climate economics. In 2013, he received the Japanese Emperor’s Order of the Rising Sun, the country’s highest honour.
He has also been decorated by the governments of Austria (Golden Honour Medal), France (Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques), Germany (Federal Cross of Merit), Italy (Order of Merit of the Republic), the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden (Order of the Polar Star), Turkey, the United States and the Russian Academy of Sciences. He is a past winner of the International Association of Energy Economics’ award for outstanding contribution to the profession.
Prior to joining the IEA in 1995, Dr. Birol worked for a number of years as an oil market analyst at the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna. A Turkish citizen, Dr. Birol was born in Ankara in 1958. He earned a BSc degree in power engineering from the Technical University of Istanbul. He received his MSc and PhD in energy economics from the Technical University of Vienna. In 2013, Dr. Birol was awarded a Doctorate of Science honoris causa by Imperial College London. He was made an honorary life member of Galatasaray Football Club in 2013.
Dr. Birol is the seventh Executive Director to lead the IEA, which was founded in 1974.