Singapore’s Daren Tang to succeed Gurry at WIPO

13 March 2020

Singapore’s Daren Tang to succeed Gurry at WIPO

Daren Tang, chief executive of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) has been nominated by the Coordination Committee of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) for the post of director general. Tang is expected to be confirmed to the position in May when the WIPO General Assembly meets to confirm the nomination and to take the position when Francis Gurry’s term ends on September 30.

Tang was named chief executive of IPOS on November 16, 2015.

The Coordination Committee, which comprises 83 member states, met on March 4, and held two rounds of voting from an initial list of six candidates. Kazakhstan’s candidate withdrew her candidacy ahead of the first round of voting. Following the first round, the candidate with the least votes, from Peru, was eliminated.

Two other candidates – from Colombia and Ghana – withdrew their candidatures ahead of the second round of voting.

Tang prevailed in the second and final round of voting with 55 votes; Binying Wang of China received 28 votes.

In a Facebook post, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong congratulated Tang on the nomination. “This is the first time a Singaporean has been nominated for the leadership position of a UN Agency. [I] am grateful the WIPO Coordination Committee supported Daren. We look forward to WIPO’s General Assembly approving Daren’s appointment as Director General in May 2020.”


In a statement issued by IPOS and the Ministry of Law, Tang said: “There were many well-qualified candidates who contested through a fair, open and transparent process, and this shows how important WIPO is to the global community. I look forward to the confirmation of the nomination by the WIPO General Assembly in May 2020, and to jointly write the next chapter of WIPO’s future.”

Singapore’s Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan proposed Tang for the position, describing him as “an experienced and inclusive leader who is able to balance the interests of all stakeholders to forge consensus” and telling of how Tang has transformed IPOS from a government regulatory body to “an innovation agency.”

Intellectual property stakeholders from around the world praised the nomination of Tang.

“The election of Daren Tang as director general of the WIPO is good news for American business and entrepreneurs, as well as for the global economy and rule-of-law,” said Peter Robinson, president and CEO of the United States Council for International Business (USCIB). “Mr. Tang understands the importance of intellectual property rights to all those whose livelihoods depend on the ingenuity and creative genius of inventors, artists and the companies who employ them. There is a clear correlation between economic growth and the development of new inventions, technologies and creative products that are protected by patents, trademarks and copyrights.”

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also congratulated Tang on his nomination via a statement.

“Mr. Tang is an effective advocate for protecting intellectual property, a vocal proponent of transparency and institutional integrity, and a leader who can unify WIPO member states by forging consensus on difficult issues,” Pompeo said.

France’s ambassador in Geneva, François Rivasseau, told the New York Times that Tang’s nomination is “an important vote for the rule of law.

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