Upcoming election for post of Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO): Muriel Pénicaud of France enters as the candidate supported by the EU and its Member States


On 25 March 2022, the 344th session of the ILO Governing Body will elect the next Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO). The candidate supported by the European Union and its Member States is Muriel Pénicaud, former French Minister of Labour.

"Ms Pénicaud brings wide experience in four key areas that we consider crucial for the position of Director General of ILO,’ states Ambassador Lotte Knudsen, Head of the EU Delegation to the UN in Geneva. ‘She has worked in the private sector, the French government, the diplomatic multilateral arena, and finally, Ms. Pénicaud has a proven track record of tripartite social dialogue. She promotes a new and ambitious vision for an “ILO in Action” that fosters social justice, brings concrete solutions to countries and is grounded in social dialogue and tripartism. Her candidacy supports a renewed multilateral system that is more effective and inclusive. The ILO must become the leading global institution when it comes to expertise on labour and employment-related issues", says EU Ambassador Knudsen.

Ms Pénicaud intends to address the challenges facing the world of work such as the digital revolution, climate change and the demographic shift. The fight against inequality is at the heart of her program, in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, which has exacerbated poverty around the world. She believes fostering job creation, access to social protection, youth employment and women empowerment are priorities. Ms. Pénicaud places great importance on international labour standards as a tool to foster development. Muriel Pénicaud is dedicated to making social progress, productivity and ecological transition go hand in hand. As Labour Minister, she was fully committed at the national and European levels in favor of the ratification of ILO Conventions 183 and 190. She continuously underlines that the universal application of the ILO’s principles is an issue of human rights, but also the condition of a level playing field in the context of our globalized economy.

If Muriel Pénicaud is elected, she would be the first female Director General of the ILO in over 100 years of existence.


During her thirty year-long career, Muriel Pénicaud has gained solid expertise in the world of work and tripartism at all levels and all around the world. Former French Minister of Labour, Pénicaud also worked as a senior executive in public and private sectors both in France and abroad. She is currently the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of France to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The desire to ensure respect for fundamental principles and rights at work has always been central to her efforts for justice, economic development and social progress. Her action has focused on equal opportunities, personal empowerment, skills development, health and safety at work, and enhanced social dialogue.