List of NATO Secretaries General
The Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is the chairman of the North Atlantic Council, the supreme decision-making organisation of the defence alliance. The Secretary-General also serves as the leader of the organisation's staff and as its chief spokesman. In addition to these official responsibilities, the Secretary General must maintain close relations with the head of state of each NATO country, and work both formally and informally with other diplomats to deal with issues facing the alliance.
As a matter of tradition, the post of Secretary General is held by a European. This structure is intended to balance the influence of the United States, which appoints the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, NATO's most senior military officer. The Secretary General is selected by consensus among the NATO member states. There is no formal process for the selection; instead, diplomats from the NATO states informally discuss the matter until a candidate is selected. The Secretary-General typically serves for a four-year term, but he or she may be asked to serve for a fifth year or longer, with the consensus of the member states.
The NATO countries selected the first Secretary General on April 4, 1952. Since that time, twelve different diplomats have served officially as Secretary General. The position has also been occupied temporarily on three occasions by an acting Secretary General in between appointments.
|#||Secretary General||Photo||Nationality||Took office||Left office||Length of term|
|1||Ismay, HastingsHastings Ismay||United Kingdom||March 24, 1952||May 16, 1957||5 years|
|2||Spaak, Paul-HenriPaul-Henri Spaak||Belgium||May 16, 1957||April 21, 1961||4 years|
|3||Stikker, DirkDirk Stikker||Netherlands||April 21, 1961||August 1, 1964||[N 1]3 years|
|4||Brosio, ManlioManlio Brosio||Italy||August 1, 1964||October 1, 1971||7 years|
|5||Luns, JosephJoseph Luns||Netherlands||October 1, 1971||June 25, 1984||13 years|
|6||Carrington, PeterPeter Carrington||United Kingdom||June 25, 1984||July 1, 1988||4 years|
|7||Wörner, ManfredManfred Wörner||Germany||July 1, 1988||August 13, 1994||[N 2]6 years|
|—||Balanzino, SergioSergio Balanzino (acting)||Italy||August 13, 1994||October 17, 1994||[N 2]2 months|
|8||Claes, WillyWilly Claes||Belgium||October 17, 1994||October 20, 1995||[N 3]1 year|
|—||Balanzino, SergioSergio Balanzino (acting)||Italy||October 20, 1995||December 5, 1995||[N 3]6 weeks|
|9||Solana, JavierJavier Solana||Spain||December 5, 1995||October 6, 1999||4 years|
|10||Robertson, GeorgeGeorge Robertson||United Kingdom||October 14, 1999||December 17, 2003||4 years|
|—||Minuto-Rizzo, AlessandroAlessandro Minuto-Rizzo (acting)||Italy||December 17, 2003||January 1, 2004||[N 4]3 weeks|
|11||de Hoop Scheffer, JaapJaap de Hoop Scheffer||Netherlands||January 1, 2004[N 5]||August 1, 2009||5 years|
|12||Fogh Rasmussen, AndersAnders Fogh Rasmussen||Denmark||August 1, 2009||July 31, 2014||5 Years|
There had been speculation the next holder of the Secretary General office should be an Eastern European and the names of incumbent President of Romania Traian Băsescu and former Romanian Ambassador to the United States Mircea Geoană had been suggested by the media.
- Stikker resigned from his position a year early due to poor health.
- Worner died in office on August 13, 1994 of cancer. The Deputy Secretary General, Sergio Balanzino, took over his daily responsibilities for the last several months on his life and then became acting Secretary General upon his death until the appointment of Willy Claes.
- Claes resigned as Secretary General after a bribery scandal, centering on his actions in the Belgian cabinet in the 1980s. After his resignation, Deputy Secretary General Sergio Balanzino served as acting Secretary General until the appointment of Javier Solana.
- George Robertson announced in January 2003 that he would be stepping down in December. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer was selected as his successor, but could not assume the office until January 2004 because of his commitment in the Dutch Parliament. Robertson was asked to extend his term until Scheffer was ready, but declined, so Minuto-Rizzo, the Deputy Secretary General, took over in the interim.
- Scheffer was named Secretary General of NATO effective January 1, 2004, but he did not take office until January 5, 2004.
- "President Welcomes NATO Secretary General to the White House". The White House. 2006-03-20. Retrieved 2008-04-13.
- NATO. "The NATO Secretary General". Retrieved 2009-03-29.[dead link]
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- NATO. "NATO Secretary General:How is he or she selected and for how long?". Retrieved 2009-03-29.
- Cook, Don (April 3, 1964). "Resignation announced by Stikker". The Washington Post.
- Marshall, Andrew (15 August 1994). "Hunt is on to find new Nato chief". The Independent (London). Retrieved 2009-03-29.
- Whitney, Craig (21 October 1995). "Facing Charges, NATO Head Steps Down". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-03-29.
- Smith, Craig (January 23, 2003). "NATO Secretary General to Leave His Post in December After 4 Years". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-03-29.
- "Jaap de Hoop Scheffer". Newsmakers (1) (Thomson Gale). January 1, 2005.
- "NATO Chief Steps Down". The New York Times. December 18, 2003. Retrieved 2009-03-29.
- Crouch, Gregory (23 September 2003). "NATO Names a Dutchman To Be Its Secretary General". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-03-29.
- Crouch, Gregory (January 6, 2004). "New NATO Chief Takes Over". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-03-29.
- "The extension of the Secretary General's mandate". NATO. October 3, 2012. Retrieved 2013-08-27.
- "PM Ponta Offers Support For Romanian Candidate In Race For NATO Secretary General Seat". Romania-Insider. 30 April 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-09.
- "Presidency Denies Scenario: Traian Basescu, NATO Secretary General". Nine O'Clock. 22 April 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-09.