Ulrik Vestergaard Knudsen took up his duties as Deputy Secretary-General in January 2019. His portfolio includes the strategic direction of OECD policy on the digital and technological transformation; global relations; trade and agriculture. In June 2021, he was appointed OECD Gender & Diversity Champion, and leads the organisation’s work on gender equality and diversity. Mr. Knudsen led the transformation of the OECD Executive Committee in Special Session into the Global Strategy Group (GSG) to have a strategic forum to discuss issues of global relevance. He chaired the first GSG meetings from 2013-2017.
Until the end of 2018, Mr Knudsen was Permanent Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Denmark. Prior to this, he served as Sherpa and Chief Diplomatic Advisor to two Danish Prime Ministers on Security Policy and on EU and Foreign Affairs in the Prime Minister’s Office. Mr Knudsen served as Ambassador to the OECD and UNESCO in Paris (2008-09). Besides his diplomatic career, which includes postings in London (2003-04), Washington (1998-2000) and Moscow (1997), he briefly served as Group Director for International Policy at Vodafone in London (2013).
He holds a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Copenhagen (1994), where he also acted as external lecturer, and he has published various papers and publications on Asia, WTO, trade policy and globalisation.