ILO COOP/SSE Chiefs across time

This page provides bibliographies of the chiefs and heads of the ILO's Cooperatives Unit since its establishment in 1920.

Article | 3 novembre 2020


  1. Georges Fauquet, Chief of ILO COOP from 1920 to 1932 
  2. Maurice Colombain, Chief of ILO COOP from 1932 to 1947 
  3. Goodwin Norman Lamming, Chief of ILO COOP from late 1947 to 1956 
  4. Sailendra Narayan Roy, Chief of ILO COOP from late 1956 to 1964 
  5. Jean Baptiste Orizet, Chief of ILO COOP from late 1964 to 1970 
  6. Desmond Louis William Anker, Chief of ILO COOP from 1970 to 1971 
  7. Thiecouta Sidibe, Chief of ILO COOP from 1973 to 1980 
  8. Adoum Maurice Hél-Bongo, Chief of ILO COOP from 1981 to 1990 
  9. Joseph Ciro Fazzio, Chief of ILO COOP from 1992 to 2000 
  10. Juergen Schwettmann, Chief of ILO COOP from 2001 to 2006 
  11. Hagen Henrÿ, Chief of ILO COOP from 2007 to 2011  
  12. Simel Esim, Chief of ILO COOP from 2012 to present  

Georges Fauquet (1873-1953), First Chief of ILO COOP from 1920 to 1932

Albert Thomas (Third from left, first row), Georges Fauquet (Third from left, second row) and other Section Chiefs in 1921

Georges Fauquet was born in 1873 in Lillebonne, France. His work with cooperatives started early in his life. As a young doctor, he treated members of the L’Avenir de Plaisance cooperative and joined a consumer cooperative in Paris. In 1905 he passed the competitive exam for labor inspectors and inspected cooperative dairies in the Charente and Poitou regions in France. A military doctor during the first two years of World War I, he worked on increasing the role of consumer cooperatives in providing social benefits to the employees in arms factories.

In 1920 he became the Chief of the ILO’s Section of Co-operation working closely with its first Director, Albert Thomas. He served in this position until 1932. After his retirement from the ILO, Fauquet continued his work with cooperatives. He represented French cooperatives on the Central Committee of the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) from 1934 till his death in Gaillard, France in 1953. A cooperative centre was opened under his name in Rabat in 1952, and called the George Fauquet Centre for Studies and Cooperative Action of Morocco. Fauquet was posthumously awarded the ICA Jubilee Triennial Prize for his contributions to cooperative thought at its 19th Congress, held in Paris in 1954.

Fauquet was a cooperative thinker who advanced cooperative theory. His principal work titled “The Cooperative Sector”, ”, first published in 1935, defined the specific role of cooperatives as part of national and international economies, rather than as separate and distinct economic systems. He called for greater collaboration among the various types of cooperatives, particularly between agricultural cooperatives and urban consumer cooperatives.

A selection of his articles, written between 1932 and 1946, were gathered in a volume and published under the title “Insights on the Cooperative Movement” in 1949 reflecting on issues of unity of cooperation under its various forms; the integration of cooperatives; the distinctions between enterprises and associations; cooperation taken as a service enterprise; and the moral nature of cooperation.

Sources: Shaffer, Jack (1999). Historical Dictionary of the Cooperative Movement. Scarecrow Press. Lanham, MD.; Toucas-Truyen, Patricia and Michel Dreyfus (2005). Les coopérateurs : Deux siècles de pratiques coopératives. Les Editions de l'Atelier. Paris.; Lambert, Paul (1963). Studies in the Social Philosophy of Co-operation. Société Générale Coopérative. Brussels.

Maurice Colombain (1887-1966), Chief of ILO COOP from 1932 to 1947

Maurice Colombain
Maurice Colombain was born in 1887 in Calais, France. He joined the ILO when its Section on Co-operation was established in 1920 and Fauquet was appointed as its Chief. Colombain succeeded Fauquet as Chief in 1932 and remained in this position until 1947. As Chief of the Section of Cooperation at the ILO, he led the first technical assistance project on cooperatives at the request of the Moroccan Government in 1937, providing policy advice for cooperative development in the country.

Following his retirement from the ILO, Colombain joined the board of the French Central Office for School Cooperatives and was a cooperative advisor to the Ministry of Overseas Affairs. He also served as President of the National Committee of the French Consumer Cooperative Federation and Director of the Institute of Cooperative Studies in Paris.

"Co-operatives and fundamental eduction" by Maurice Colombain
"Co-operatives and fundamental eduction" by Maurice Colombain In 1950, Maurice Colombain was invited by UNESCO to explore the theme of cooperatives and fundamental education. His research, which was published by UNESCO in 1950 with the title título “Co-operatives and fundamental education”, showed how education for cooperation was being carried out in different countries. While acknowledging general economic functions of cooperatives such as decreasing usury and indebtedness, creating economies of scale and increasing purchasing power, Colombain emphasized that participation in cooperative societies constitutes an educational experience for the members, especially for workers in the rural economy. In this monograph, he wrote:

“While they are undoubtedly effective instruments of economic development, cooperative institutions have in themselves great educational value. They give the rural community a practical type of organization which educates its members progressively. Since the cooperative expresses the needs and interests of its members, it is not surprising to note the many examples where cooperatives take an active interest in schools, even to the extent of devoting part of their profits to formal education. It has been proved possible to start cooperatives in schools, so that children can be trained in cooperative habits, and practice and theory can be combined in teaching.”

Sources: Colombain, Maurice (1950). Co-operatives and fundamental education. Paris, UNESCO; W. Jones, Phillip (1988). International Policies for Third World Education: Unesco, literacy and development. London, Routledge; Shaffer, Jack (1999). Historical Dictionary of the Cooperative Movement. Lanham, MD, Scarecrow Press.

Goodwin Norman Lamming (1913-2001), Chief of ILO COOP from late 1947 to 1956

Goodwin Norman Lamming was born in the UK in July 1913. He started his career as the London correspondent of Co-operative News . After working at the Cooperative Wholesale Society from 1935 to 1937, he won a scholarship to study issues of the cooperative and labour movements in Sweden from 1937 to 1939. His book “Sweden’s Co-operative Enterprise” (Manchester, England: Co-operative Union, 1940) was subsequently published. In 1940 he joined the staff of the Press attached to the British Legation in Stockholm and later was appointed as Assistant Press Attaché and then as Labour Attaché. 

William Yalden-Thomson, Chief of Operations of the ILO at Geneva (left), and Chief of the Cooperation and Handicraft Service, G. N. Lamming (middle), bid bon voyage to Basil Loveridge, Sectional Educational Officer of the North East Section, on his departure for Ceylon. Mr. Loveridge undertook a three months’ survey of cooperative educational activities, with special reference to adult education (A photo taken in October 1952).
He joined the ILO COOP in 1947 as its deputy chief and then was appointed as its chief in 1949. He developed and directed ILO’s technical cooperation programmes on cooperatives including projects designed to help in the development of cooperatives and handicrafts mainly in Asia and Latin America. He was also involved in the organization of international and regional technical meetings such as the first ILO Asian Technical Conference on Co-operation in Karachi, Pakistan in 1950.

Mr Lamming left the ILO in June 1963 to work for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome. He served as a Cooperative Specialist to assist cooperative development in the agriculture and fishery sectors in Brazil, Nepal, and Vietnam, among others. He authored a number of FAO reports including on cooperative administration and management, promotion of small farmers’ cooperatives, fisher people’s cooperatives and women in agricultural cooperatives.

Sources: Co-operative News (January 8, 1949); Curriculum Vitae of G. N. Lamming; Lamming, G. N. (1971). Cooperative Sector “Idea Book” for Cooperative Administration and Management (Rome: FAO); G. N. Lamming (1980). Promotion of Small Farmers’ Cooperatives in Asia (Rome: FAO); Lamming, G. N. and Hotta, M. (1980). Fishermen’s Cooperatives in West Africa (Rome: FAO); Lamming, G. N. (1983). Women in agricultural cooperatives: Constraints and limitation to full participation (Rome: FAO).

Sailendra Narayan Roy (1901-1983), Chief of ILO COOP from late 1956 to 1964

Sailendra Narayan Roy
Sailendra Narayan Roy was born in West Bengal in 1901. He got his B.Sc in Mathematics from the Calcutta University. Between 1924-1943 he worked as apprentice, instructor, senior apprentice, superior and superintendent of training at Tata Iron and Steel Co. Ltd in Jamshedpur. He was a Senior Regional Inspector of Training for the Government of India in Bombay for two years before becoming the Director of a Training Scheme in the Ministry of Labour in 1945. He then took on the position of the Director of Technical Training in the Ministry of Labour until 1952. During his time at the Ministry of Labour and prior to joining the ILO in 1952, he led the Indian delegation to the ILO Asian Conference of Experts in Singapore in 1949 and was a delegate from India to an ILO Technical Conference in Bangkok in 1951. Upon joining the ILO in 1952 he worked in the Vocational Training Section of the Manpower Division for one year. He was the Counsellor and Assistant Chief of the Manpower Division between 1953 and 1956. He worked as the Chief of the Co-operation and Handicrafts Division from 1956 till 1964. He was assigned special duties in line with the reorganization of the ILO in 1964 and retired from the ILO in 1966. He died in 1983.

Source: Curriculum Vitae of S. N. Roy from ILO Archives

Jean Baptiste Orizet (1910-1975), Chief of ILO COOP from late 1964 to 1970

Mr Orizet was born at St. Etienne, France in 1910. He was an agricultural engineer who worked as Vice-Director of the Agricultural Mutual Insurance Association in Yonne from 1931-1938, and as Inspector of Agriculture and Social Affairs during the next four years. From 1945 to 1948, he was a Technical Adviser and Chief of Mission of the Ministry of Agriculture in France.

Mr. Orizet started working at the ILO’s Division of Co-operation and Handicrafts in 1948. In 1956, he was nominated as the Director of the Area Office for the Middle East in Istanbul. During his three years in this position, he contributed to reinforcing the links between the ILO and governments, employers' and workers' organisations in the region.

In 1959 Jean-Baptiste Orizet was appointed to establish the first ILO Field Office in Africa located in Lagos. On the basis of this assignment he became a pioneer, in the development of technical co-operation projects in Africa. Upon his return to Geneva at the end of 1960, Mr. Orizet became the Deputy to the Chief of the Division of Co-operatives, Handicrafts and Small Scale Industries, which in 1957 had replaced the former Co-operatives and Handicrafts Branch. In 1964, through an internal organisation of the ILO the Co-operative, Rural and Related Institutions Branch was established of which Mr. J.B. Orizet was the first Chief until his retirement in January 1970. He died in Geneva on the 8th of April 1975 at the age of 65.

In his article on “Co-operation - a key to development” in 1965 for ILO Panorama he answers the question of why cooperation as follows:

“…  co-operation goes well beyond the immediate advantages accruing to members. It is, indeed, widely recognised to be one of the most potent forces making for the renovation and improvement of economic and social structures; it is also one of the principal instruments for putting development plans into effect.”

“The positive value of the co-operative approach derives from the fact that co-operation seeks to enlist all sectors of the population, that it mobilises them, sometimes literally, in activities which are a direct factor in the improvement of levels of life and work. Co-operatives are schools of good citizenship and democracy and, as such, assume particular prominence in countries where education and training for the tasks ahead constitute priority problems.”

Sources: ILO News Service press release (1958/1); ILO Cooperative Information 1975/1; ILO Panorama No. 13 (1965); Orizet, Jean (1951). Co-operative movement and the welfare of the worker. International Labour Review 64 (1), Geneva; Orizet, Jean (1969). The Co-opearative Movement since the First World War. International Labour Review 100 (1), Geneva.

Desmond Louis William Anker (1913-1996), Chief of ILO COOP from 1970 to 1971

Desmond Louis William Anker
Desmond Louis William Anker was born in London, UK in July 1913. He obtained his B.A. degree from the Oklahoma State University on agricultural development in 1933. He received his M.A. degree in Agricultural Economics at the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College in 1937. He achieved A.B.D. status from the Louisiana State University toward a Ph.D. in agricultural economics. He worked in the Louisiana State University, as an Associate Professor until 1944. In August of 1944 he accepted a position at the Agricultural Rehabilitation Division of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) serving in Washington D.C., London, Luxembourg, Italy, Poland and Czechoslovakia until 1947.He worked in the US Department of Agriculture as an Agricultural Economist in Washington D.C. in 1948 before he joined the ILO.

Between 1948 and 1964 he worked at the ILO's Agricultural Section and Rural and Indigenous Workers Division. In 1965, he was appointed as the Deputy Chief of the Co-operative, Rural and Related Institutions Branch. After a two year secondment to the UN NY office as a Senior Social Affairs Officer between 1966 and 67, he returned to the ILO's Co-operative, Rural and Related Institution Branch, this time as Head of the Report and Studies Section. He served as Chief of the Branch between 1970 and 1971. He then moved to lead the Rural Employment Branch in 1972 before retiring from the ILO in 1973. Anker wrote on a wide range of topics including the effects of farm mechanization on agriculture, community organizations, and rural development strategies. He died in Chêne-Bougeries in the Geneva area in 1996.

Source: Journal of Farm Economics, Vol. 26, No. 4 (Nov., 1944), pp. 827-830; Curriculum Vitae of Desmond L. W. Anker from ILO Archives

Thiecouta Sidibe (1931-2003), Chief of ILO COOP from 1973 to 1980

Thiecouta Sibide
A Senegalese national, Thiecouta Sidibé received his education in French institutions and wrote his thesis on transport and economic development of Senegal in 1958/9. After the completion of his studies he moved to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs to work on labour and social legislation. In 1961, he was recruited to work at the International Labour Standards Division of the ILO in 1961. He moved to the ILO office in Lagos in 1966 until 1969 when he was appointed as the Director of the ILO office in Yaounde. He was promoted to the position of Chief of Co-operative, Rural and Related Institutions Branch in Geneva in 1973. The name of the Branch was changed to Cooperatives in 1975. He led the branch until 1980 before moving back to the International Labour Standards Department as its Deputy Chief in 1981. He was promoted to the position of Director of the Department in 1984. He retired from that position in 1992 after more than 30 years of service at the ILO. After his retirement he devoted his time to meditation and study of Buddhism. He passed away in 2003.

Source: Curriculum Vitae of Thiecoute Sidibe from ILO Archives; ILO Friends Newsletter No. 35, December 2003, p. 39-40; and Archives Nationales d’outre-mer.

Adoum Maurice Hél-Bongo (1930 -2010), Chief of ILO COOP from 1981 to 1990

Adoum Maurice Hél-Bongo
Maurice Hél-Bongo was born in 1930 in Chad. He studied law in Paris and he was the President of the Association of Chadian Students in France. Following his legal studies, he worked at different government positions in the Ministry of Economy and Finance and Minister of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry. Prior to joining the ILO as the Director of the ILO Office in Dakar in 1967, he served as the Minister of Social Affairs between 1964 -7. He transferred to Geneva as the Head of the Africa Unit at the Office for the Coordination of Practical Activities then as the Head of the African Liaison Service of the ILO. He was the Chief of the Cooperatives Branch between 1981 and 1990. After his retirement he was asked to preside over the National Sovereign Council which was charged with preparing a draft of the constitution of Chad in 1993. He was awarded the Palme d'Honneur by the Town Hall of Onex (Republic and Canton of Geneva) in 2008 and invited to give a speech on the occasion of the celebration of the Swiss National Day on the 1st of August 2008. He had five children of his own and four adopted children. In addition to French and English, he spoke Arabic and Sango (CAR). He passed away in Geneva, Switzerland in 2010.

Joseph Ciro Fazzio, (1940-2023), Chief of ILO COOP from 1992 to 2000

Joseph Ciro Fazzio
Joseph Fazzio was born in the US in 1940. He has received his BA from Notre Dame University, his MA from the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at the Johns Hopkins University (Bologna and Washington, DC) on Common Market Studies and his Ph.D. in Economics from the Michigan State University. He started working in the ILO at COOP in Geneva (1967 -1974) before he took on a series of field appointments, namely in ILO Port of Spain, Lagos, and Dhaka offices before rejoining COOP in Geneva in 1987. Fazzio worked as Head of the Section for the Promotion and Development of Cooperatives between 1989 and 1990 before being promoted to the position of Chief of ILO COOP Branch in 1992. He worked in this capacity until his retirement in 2000. A polyglot, Fazzio spoke five languages other than English (German, Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese). After his retirement he lived in Germany with his wife Gabriele Ullrich who also worked in ILO COOP.

For the article that Joe Fazzio and Gabriele Ullrich wrote on the occasion of ILO COOP’s 75th anniversary, see here

Juergen Schwettmann, Chief of ILO COOP from 2001 to 2006

Juergen Schwettmann
Juergen Schwettmann was born in Germany in 1954. He studied Business Administration and has undertaken postgraduate studies in software engineering and in cooperative development. Before joining the ILO, he served as management advisor to several coffee-marketing cooperatives in Cameroon and as rural finance advisor to Cameroon’s Rural Development Fund. He began working with the ILO in 1988 as Regional Advisor on Cooperatives for Eastern, Central and Southern Africa, before joining the COOP Branch in Geneva in 1994 as Senior Technical Advisor. He was appointed Chief of the Branch in 2001, during the time when ILO Recommendation 193 was being negotiated. After leaving the COOP Branch in 2006 he took on positions as Director of the ILO Office for East Africa (Dar es Salaam), Deputy Regional Director for Africa (Addis Ababa), and Director of the Partnerships and Development Cooperation Department (Geneva). During his 27 years at the ILO he has been instrumental in designing and promoting development cooperation projects in support of cooperatives and the wider social and solidarity economy. Since his retirement from the ILO in 2015, he has been working as an independent consultant with various multilateral and bilateral development cooperation agencies on a range of issues including rural and cooperative development, informal and social and solidarity economy. He is fluent in German, English, and French. He has three children and lives with his wife in Germany.

For Juergen Schwettmann’s ILO COOP 100 Interview, please see here. For his message to ILO COOP on its centenary, see here.

Hagen Henrÿ, Chief of ILO COOP from 2007 to 2011

Hagen Henrÿ was born in 1952 in the then Democratic Republic of Germany. He spent first three and a half years of his life in a refugee camp in South-Western Germany Federal Republic) and the rest of his childhood and youth in that part of Germany. After high school in Germany and the United States he studied law in Geneva and Saarbrücken and qualified as a German judge in 1981. Post graduate studies in development issues and development law took him back to Geneva and to Paris. While already working he completed a licentiate, a doctorate and a professorship qualification in law at the University of Helsinki. Prior to working as Chief of the Cooperative Branch, Henrÿ had worked at the universities of Geneva and Saarbrücken and as legal advisor to the German Federal Minister of Economy. At the end of November 2020 he retires from his position as Adjunct Professor and Research Director at the University of Helsinki.

Since 1994 Henrÿ has consulted on cooperative policy and legislation in/for many countries for national, regional and international governmental and non-governmental organizations, among which the ILO, the FAO, the World Bank, the EU, the OECD, the International Trade Center and the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA). In this capacity he was also involved in the elaboration of ILO Recommendation on the Promotion of Cooperatives, 2002 (No. 193). Since 2013 he has been coordinating the ICA Cooperative Law Committee. He speaks several languages, has four children and eight grand-children and lives outside Helsinki with his wife. For Hagen Henrÿ’s ILO COOP 100 Interview, please see here.

Simel Esim, Chief of ILO COOP from 2012 to present

Simel Esim
Simel Esim is the 12th ILO COOP Manager who was appointed to serve in this post by an ILO DG. A Turkish-American political economist, Simel has worked on social and economic development for the past 30 years around the world. In addition to cooperative and social and solidarity economy development, she has experience working on gender equality, informal economy, and labour migration issues. Prior to her appointment as Manager of ILO COOP in 2012, Ms Esim was a senior regional technical specialist on gender equality and women workers’ rights at the ILO’s Regional Office for Arab States (2004-2012).

Before she joined the ILO, Simel worked as an economist in the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) in Washington, DC (1997-2003), Development Alternatives, Inc. (1995) and the World Bank (1991-94). Simel holds a BA in political science from the Bogazici University in Istanbul, an MA in International Economics and Middle East Studies from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Bologna, Italy and Washington, DC and a Ph.D. in economics with a concentration in gender and development economics from the American University in Washington, DC. She speaks Turkish and English, and has working knowledge of French, Italian and Arabic. She is a beginner in Spanish.