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KUALA LUMPUR, 3 DECEMBER 2019: The Board of Governors of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) announced today that Chief Operating Officer, Bakhtiar Talhah, will assume the role of Interim Chief Executive Officer, effective 17 January, 2020, after Datuk Darrel Webber’s contract expires.
In an announcement shared with the RSPO Secretariat, Co-Chairs of the Board of Governors, Ms Anne Rosenbarger and Dato’ Carl Bek-Nielsen stated, “Bakhtiar has the full support of the Board and we are confident he will provide the organisation and RSPO members with a strong sense of leadership and stability throughout this period of transition.”
The Board of Governors also reassured the Secretariat and membership that all existing RSPO projects will continue under the purview of Mr Bakhtiar Talhah and that there would be no change to the daily operations of the organisation.
Bakhtiar Talhah joined the RSPO Secretariat as the Chief Operating Officer in January 2017 and has been instrumental in strengthening RSPO’s credibility through the establishment and management of RSPO’s Investigation and Monitoring Unit (IMU), the establishment of the Geographic Information System (GIS) Unit, and various other initiatives. He holds degrees from Princeton University and from Université Paris-Sorbonne. Prior to RSPO, he was the Regional Director at the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) based in Kuala Lumpur. He has also worked with various international advisory firms such as PFC Energy and Nexant specialising in downstream oil, after having started his career at Petronas. Bakhtiar actively works on public health issues in Malaysia, and currently serves in the Malaysian AIDS Council and several grassroots NGOs.
The Board of Governors once again thanks Datuk Darrel Webber for his service to the RSPO as Chief Executive Officer and for all of the contributions he has given to help realise RSPO’s shared vision of making sustainable palm oil the norm.
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was formed in 2004 with the objective of promoting the growth and use of sustainable oil palm products through credible global standards and engagement of stakeholders. RSPO is a not-for-profit, international, membership organisation that unites stakeholders from the different sectors of the palm oil industry including oil palm producers, palm oil processors or traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks and investors, environmental or nature conservation NGOs, and social or developmental NGOs.
This multi-stakeholder representation is mirrored in the governance structure of RSPO such that seats in the Board of Governors, Steering Committees and Working Groups are fairly allocated to each sector. In this way, RSPO lives out the philosophy of the "roundtable" by giving equal rights to each stakeholder group, facilitating traditionally adversarial stakeholders in working together to reach decisions by consensus, and achieving RSPO’s shared vision of making sustainable palm oil the norm.
The seat of the association is in Zurich, Switzerland, while the secretariat is currently based in Kuala Lumpur with satellite offices in Jakarta (ID), London (UK), Zoetermeer (NL), Beijing (CN) and Bogotá (CO).
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