Following her selection Elisabeth Köstinger, Federal Austrian Minister for Sustainability stated on behalf of the Austrian Presidency of the Council. "Ms Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle is an excellent candidate and we hope that before the elections next year she will gather support from all parts of the world in order to become the first female Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation".
Trained as an agricultural engineer, Ms Geslain-Lanéelle has a strong knowledge of food systems, rural development, food safety, food security and nutrition. She has devoted 30 years of her career on questions of food and agriculture. She has held high-level national and international responsibilities, and successfully concluded international negotiations. She headed the European Food Safety Agency for seven years (2006-2013) and was Under Secretary of State in the French Ministry of Agriculture and Food (2013-2018), covering economic and environmental dimensions. In both these functions, she has led large-size organisations and has been recognised for her strong leadership and management skills.
Ms Geslain-Lanéelle is an experienced communicator at national and international levels and with different stakeholders from Governments, private sector, civil society and the research community. She is bilingual (English and French) and speaks Italian and Spanish fluently.