30 June 2017

Message of condolence - Jean-Jacques Oechslin

With sadness the IOE announces the passing of Jean-Jacques Oechslin on 28 June 2017 at the age of 84, who was notably the Chairman of the IOE’s Executive Committee for 18 years, from 1980 to 1998.


Jean-Jacques Oechslin spent the majority of his professional life, nearly 40 years - in the service of employers and, in particular, in their relations with the International Labour Organisation (ILO). A doctor of law and with a degree from the Paris Institute of Political Studies, he was Officer for International Social Issues, then Director of Social Issues for the National Council of French Employers (CNPF, ex-MEDEF - Mouvement des entreprises de France), and as a result, Delegate for Employers of France at the International Labour Conference of the International Labour Office.


He then became the Vice-Chairman of the ILO Governing Body from 1979 to 1988, then the President of the same Body in 1985-1986. He also chaired the Employers' Group of the International Labour Conference of the ILO for 18 years (1979-1997) and chaired the same conference in 1998. After completing his mandates at both the IOE and the ILO, he became the Honorary President of the IOE.


During his mandate as President of the Executive Committee, he aimed to strengthen the role of employer organisations - above all in developing and transition countries -, reform the ILO and, in particular, its international labour standards as well as reform the IOE. This resulted in a new structure for the bodies and mandates at the IOE with important amendments to its statutes in 1998. Among other changes, it led to the elimination of the Executive Committee and the establishment of the current Management Board.


At the end of his presidency Jean-Jacques undertook a research-intensive project, providing an unparalleled overview of the origins, history and personalities of our organisation, titled “Three quarters of a century in the service of the enterprise” (1920-1998), providing an outline, testimonials and special memories for present and future members of the realities of the employers’ movement over the course of different historic events which have turned the world upside down.


Jean-Jacques was a consummate professional, an exceptional man despite his discrete personality, very humane and deeply devoted to defending the values of employers and social dialogue. He played a major role in the defence of free enterprise thanks to his strategic vision and engagement in social justice in spite of the considerable challenges which have occurred over time.


On the occasion of this sad loss, the IOE wishes to express its deepest sympathies to his wife and children.



Erol Kiresepi                  Linda Kromjong
President                         Secretary-general


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