Go take a bungee jump, says new ISO president

16 January 2009

New Zealander Rob Steele has taken up the post of ISO Secretary-General on 1 January 2009. A chartered accountant, he was previously the Chief Executive Officer of Standards New Zealand (SNZ).

Rob Steele and his suggested sport
Rob Steele and his suggested sport

In a recent interview at his Geneva headquarters office he said the move from the southern to northern hemisphere served to remind him of the diversity of the world’s opinions and the need to ensure that ISO international standards are globally relevant.

He said his first priority was in “getting up to speed” as rapidly as possible, so he will be spending time with various staff members. His most important job, he says, is getting the strategic plan for 2011-2015 in place. This is a challenge given the current economic climate, environmental concerns, and the rapidly changing technology landscape.


Staff in the Geneva headquarters who want to make a favourable impression with their new boss may find themselves engaged in an extreme sport.

“You've no doubt heard of bungee jumping, but you may not know that it is a very popular sport in New Zealand, to such an extent that Standards New Zealand and Standards Australia jointly developed a code of good practice for this activity,” he says.

“As CEO of Standards New Zealand, I encouraged my managers and guests to take part in a bungee jump as part of a regional standards meeting.

“Now, I'm not saying that it is necessary for senior managers of either ISO Central Secretariat or the ISO system at large to “take the leap,”, but I do believe that managers need to be bold — so we'll see!”

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