New Deputy Directors at International Olive Council

The new senior management team is now complete with the addition of two new deputy directors, Mustafa Sepetçi in charge of administrative and financial affairs, and Jaime Lillo who will oversee the technical, economic and promotional units.

Jaime Lillo
Aug. 4, 2016
By Ylenia Granitto
Jaime Lillo

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During its 26th extra­or­di­nary ses­sion in March 2016, the Council of Members of the International Olive Council selected senior offi­cials which began in their new roles on July 1. Now the Executive Secretariat of the IOC includes two new deputy direc­tors: Mustafa Sepetçi in charge of admin­is­tra­tive and finan­cial affairs and Jaime Lillo, who will over­see the tech­ni­cal, eco­nomic and pro­mo­tional units. After the first month of work, we meet them to talk about their goals and expectations.

I feel lucky to work for the IOC and the olive sec­tor and I am glad to deal with the health­i­est and most pre­cious prod­uct in the world,” said Mustafa Sepetçi, 41, who said he is keen to revi­tal­ize the admin­is­tra­tive and finan­cial struc­ture of the IOC and ensure the opti­mal use of the organisation’s resources.

Increasing the vis­i­bil­ity and recog­ni­tion of the IOC will pro­vide access to accu­rate infor­ma­tion and effec­tive solu­tions to the prob­lems encoun­tered in the olive world.- IOC Deputy Director Mustafa Sepetçi

He holds a degree in polit­i­cal sci­ences from the University of Ankara, after which he spe­cial­ized in inter­na­tional rela­tions obtain­ing an M.A. at the London Metropolitan University. 

Sepetçi has spent a long time work­ing as an inter­nal audi­tor in gov­ern­ment admin­is­tra­tion, par­tic­u­larly in con­nec­tion with the provin­cial restruc­tur­ing car­ried out by the Ministry of Customs and Trade. 

As the head of the Department of Foreign Affairs at the Ministry of Customs and Trade since 2011, Sepetçi rep­re­sented Turkey at the IOC and was respon­si­ble for super­vis­ing the recog­ni­tion of olive oil test­ing lab­o­ra­to­ries and the cre­ation of the third inter­na­tional col­lec­tion of olive germ plasm in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the IOC. 

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Mustafa Sepetçi

In this capac­ity, he par­tic­i­pated actively in the nego­ti­a­tion of the International Agreement on Olive Oil and Table Olives in 2015. As a reg­u­lar par­tic­i­pant in inter­na­tional meet­ings at the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Co-oper­a­tive Alliance (ICA) and the FAO, Sepetçi was put for­ward by Turkey for the post of deputy direc­tor and was cho­sen by the IOC mem­ber coun­tries at the end of a selec­tion process. 

The key area of his new role is the strength­en­ing of the cen­tral posi­tion of the IOC in the olive oil and table olive sec­tor. Increasing the vis­i­bil­ity and recog­ni­tion of the IOC will pro­vide access to accu­rate infor­ma­tion and effec­tive solu­tions to the prob­lems encoun­tered in the olive world,” said the new deputy direc­tor. It will also pro­vide a tool for com­mon stan­dard­iza­tion activ­i­ties, as the IOC should be a meet­ing point for all oper­a­tors in the sec­tor.” His inten­tion is that the IOC will be restruc­tured in such a way as to enable it to play a role as a world ref­er­ence for doc­u­men­ta­tion and information.

Sepetçi is also respon­si­ble for IOC bud­get man­age­ment and said he is deter­mined to con­tribute his utmost to achiev­ing the objec­tives of the International Agreement and ensur­ing a bal­anced bud­get to make that possible.

Moreover, his aim is to improve the infor­ma­tion sys­tem in order to pro­vide trace­abil­ity, easy and rapid access and trans­parency, and respond bet­ter to the expec­ta­tions of the mem­ber coun­tries and the sec­tor. In today’s world, infor­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy is tak­ing up more space in our lives day by day,” he remarked. This trend is likely to con­tinue and pick up speed in the future. We are eager to develop an infor­ma­tion sys­tem that will rein­force the IOC’s capac­i­ties and expertise.” 

Deputy Director Jaime Lillo told Olive Oil Times, My goal is to work together with the team for a new phase of the IOC and give it a fresh impe­tus under the new Agreement.”

Lillo, 42, is an agri­cul­tural engi­neer with a degree from the Polytechnic University of Madrid. He has worked at the Permanent Representation of Spain to the EU and as spe­cial advi­sor to the Ministry of Agriculture. 

As a for­mer offi­cial of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development, he has also worked closely with var­i­ous NGOs on a num­ber of devel­op­ment and coop­er­a­tion projects. 

Jaime Lillo

Lillo is a reg­u­lar at inter­na­tional meet­ings of the United Nations, FAO, WTO and OECD. In addi­tion to the man­age­ment of the IOC tech­ni­cal port­fo­lio, which includes R&D and envi­ron­ment, train­ing and spe­cific oper­a­tions and olive oil chem­istry and stan­dard­iza­tion, the new deputy direc­tor, who was nom­i­nated by Spain for the role, will mon­i­tor the olive oil con­sump­tion pro­mo­tion cam­paigns and eco­nomic research car­ried out by the IOC, in addi­tion to the planned launch of a world olive observatory. 

The exec­u­tive direc­tor has also tasked him with coor­di­nat­ing the World Olive Day, held every year on November 26, which is planned to be cel­e­brated by mem­ber coun­tries with grant fund­ing from the IOC.

I will oper­ate in order to achieve the objec­tives included in the Agreement: to get closer to con­sumers, to enhance har­mo­niza­tion of the stan­dard and facil­i­tate the access of new coun­tries to the IOC.” 

He believes that the role of olive trees against cli­mate change is very impor­tant, and this is also an issue that the IOC will sub­mit to the COP22 in November (22nd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change UNFCCC).

Lillo, who has seen in recent years the great evo­lu­tion of Spanish olive oil, revealed some per­sonal details about his pas­sion for extra vir­gin olive oil that began when he was a child: I went to visit my uncle in Jaén who had an olive grove, and we tasted the new extra vir­gin olive oil that had just come out of the mill. Nowadays, in the morn­ing I usu­ally have bread with extra vir­gin olive oil and tomato or honey and I always want to be sure to have var­i­ous oils from dif­fer­ent vari­eties to use them accord­ing to the food.”


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