Jaime Lillo has been appointed as the new executive director of the Madrid-based International Olive Council during the plenary session of the 117th Council of Members meeting.
According to the IOC, the Council of Members voted unanimously to appoint Lillo after a series of interviews and deliberation. He will replace the outgoing Abdellatif Ghedira in January 2024 and will become the first Spaniard to run the organization since it was founded under the auspices of the United Nations in 1959.See Also:Olive Council, University of Jaén Launch Olive Sustainability Site
The IOC told Olive Oil Times that Lillo, who has been the organization’s deputy director for technical affairs and cooperation since July 2016, would not comment on the appointment before he takes up the position.
In a 2016 interview with Olive Oil Times, Lillo said his passion for olives and olive oil took root after visiting his uncle’s olive grove Jaén, the world’s largest olive oil-producing region, as a child.
The 49-year-old is an agricultural engineer with a degree from the Polytechnic University of Madrid. Before joining the IOC, he worked as Spain’s permanent representative to the European Union, an advisor to the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development.
Since joining the IOC, Lillo has managed the council’s technical portfolio, including research and development, environment, training and olive oil chemistry operations and standardization. He also monitored the council’s promotional campaigns and economic research.
Lillo was also involved in the launch of the world olive oil observatory and was tasked with coordinating IOC-funded World Olive Day celebrations in member countries.
In 2016, shortly after being named technical director, 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.”
“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 added.
During a 2019 interview with Olive Oil Times, Lillo said producing countries and the IOC must focus on the social and environmental sustainability of olive farming.
“We spread the best practices to help farmers to have the best olive oils, improving the sustainability of production, and we think this is the only and best way to look to the future,” he said.