South Korean WHO veteran has tough act to follow

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 28 August 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:468
  1. Fiona Fleck
  1. Geneva

    Dr Jong-Wook Lee, new director general of WHO, wants to take a fresh look at the organisation

    When Dr Jong-Wook Lee became the new director general of the World Health Organization in July, one of the first things he did was to recruit external consultants to help his team in the daunting task of making the agency work more efficiently.

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    Credit: WHO

    After 20 years in the organisation—from 1983 as a leprosy expert in the South Pacific to more recent posts as head of WHO's global programme for vaccines and, in 2000, head of WHO's Stop TB programme—he said the time was ripe to take a fresh look at how WHO worked.

    “Cynics say that a consultant borrows your watch and then tells you the time,” Dr Lee, aged 58, said in an interview with the BMJ, adding, in his trademark self effacing style: “But maybe from time to time we don't know what time it is and it is nice to be reminded.”

    Dr Lee surprised his staff recently by his choice of executive car—an environmentally friendly petrol-electric hybrid and not the traditional gas-guzzling limousine.

    He has been at pains to make it clear to staff that he is open to suggestions on ways to improve their work.

    It …

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