London--The International Rubber Study Group has confirmed that Hidde Smit will be the organisation's next secretary-general. The present incumbent, Dr A F S Budiman comes to the end of his contract at the end of this year and has been arranging the selection of his successor. Smit said he has signed the contract for the position, but there are a few formalities outstanding before the announcement can be made public.
The IRSG confirmed that Smit had been offered the post and that a contract has been signed, but declined to offer any more details, indicating that it is a matter for the IRSG's heads of government grouping. Robert Reiley, chair of the IRSG's heads of government group and a senior official at the US Department of Commerce, was unavailable for comment.
Smit is currently managing director of the Economic and Social Institute at the free University of Amsterdam and is best-known for his economic models of the natural rubber market, which attempt to predict medium- to long-term supply and demand and price movements.
Smit said he will be 60 years old this year and feels that the time is right for a change from the ESI. He said he will leave the ESI at the end of this year and his work there will be carried on by Kees Burger, who has been closely involved with the development of the Institute's economic modelling programme.
Smit will take up his position with the IRSG on 1, January 2005.