Jaime Lillo Appointed Olive Council Executive Director

As deputy director, Lillo has emphasized olive oil's role in promoting environmental and social sustainability.
Jaime Lillo
By Daniel Dawson
Jun. 27, 2023 14:44 UTC

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.

International Olive Council

The International Olive Council (IOC) is a global inter­gov­ern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cated to the olive oil and table olive sec­tor. Its mem­ber­ship accounts for around 94 per­cent of global olive oil pro­duc­tion. The IOC encour­ages tech­ni­cal coop­er­a­tion, research, inter­na­tional trade, eco­nomic data and pro­motes olive and olive oil con­sump­tion.

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.


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