The Secretary General


According to Article 54.h of the Chicago Convention, the ICAO Council appoints a Chief Executive Officer of the Secretariat who shall be called Secretary General. The Secretary General is appointed for a period of three years, a term of office that may be renewed once for the same period of time.

In almost 70 years of existence of the Organization, the Secretariat has been run by 11 Secretaries General:

1.     Albert Roper (France). Secretary General of PICAO and first Secretary General of ICAO. Term of Office: 15 August 1945 to 31 December 1951. Note that he was simultaneously the Secretary General of ICAN (International Commission for Air Navigation) and PICAO.

2.    Carl Ljungberg (Sweden). Term of Office: 1 January 1952 to 31 July 1959.

3.    Ronald MacAlister Macdonnell (Canada). Term of Office: 1 August 1959 to 31 July 1964.

4.    Bernardus Tieleman Twigt (Netherlands). Term of Office: 1 August 1964 to 31 July 1970.

5.    Assad Kotaite (Lebanon). Term of Office: 1 August 1970 to 31 July 1976.

6.    Yves Lambert (France). Term of Office: 1 August 1976 to 31 July 1988.

7.    Shivinder Singh Sidhu (India). Term of Office: 1 August 1988 to 31 July 1991.

8.    Philippe Rochat (Switzerland). Term of Office: 1 August 1991 to 31 July 1997.

9.    Renato Cláudio Costa Pereira (Brazil). Term of Office: 1 August 1997 to 31 July 2003.

10. M. Taïeb Chérif (Algeria). Term of Office: 1 August 2003 to 31 July 2009.

11.  Raymond Benjamin (France). Term of Office: 1 August 2009 to 31 July 2015.

12. Fang Liu (China). Term of Office: 1 August 2015 to 31 July 2021. Dr. Liu became the first-ever woman appointed Secretary General of ICAO.

13. Juan Carlos Salazar (Colombia). Term of Office: 1 August 2021 (for a three-year term).


Albert Roper


Carl Ljungberg

Ronald MacAlister Macdonnell

Bernardus Tieleman Twigt


Assad Kotaite

Yves Lambert


Shivinder Singh Sidhu


Philippe Rochat

Renato Cláudio Costa Pereira


M. Taïeb Chérif

Raymond Benjamin

Fang Liu


Juan Carlos Salazar 




Albert Roper, Secretary General of PICAO and first Secretary General of ICAO (from 1945 to 1951).


The above shows a commercial cover sent to Dr. A. Roper as Secretary General of PICAO, with a postmark dated 12 May 1947 (a few weeks after ICAO came into being); news regarding the establishment of the permanent ICAO had not flown fast enough to reach the ministries of all governments.


At the time of the marriage of Albert Roper’s parents, the scribe of the Town Hall of Dinan, France, had spelled ROPER (instead of ROPERT) the name of his father. As this marriage booklet was thereafter used for the establishment of the birth certificate of Albert, his name was written without final T on all his official papers; whereas Albert Roper always signed with T, so that at the college and the regiment, everyone knew him under the name of ROPERT. It was only at the end of the war 1914-18 that he decided to give up any procedure of correction of all his official papers and birth certificate. Since then, he signed ROPER without T, surprising everyone. 

However, this envelope, sent from Argentina in 1947, spelled the name with T. This is extremely interesting when one knows the origin of the error on the name.



Details of Albert Roper's grave at the Fresnes Communal Cemetery, France.

Albert Roper: 1891-1969.

2019 marked the 50th anniversary of the passing away of Albert Jean François Roper; that year also marked the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Paris Convention (October 1919) and the 75th anniversary of the signing of the Chicago Convention (December 1944).


In Fresnes, the “impasse des Sentiers”, where Albert Roper and his parents lived at #10, has been renovated and extended; it became an important traffic lane and was renamed “rue Albert Roper” by the municipal council on 21 December 1988. (Source Wikiwand).

Albert Roper - Excerpt from Paronama French Magazine #151, November 2016, Page 27.


Service cover sent from the International Labor Office (ILO)

to Mr. E.C.R. Ljungberg, Secretary General. Postmarked on 15 November 1954.


Service metered cover sent from WMO to Mr. R.M. Macdonnell, Secretary General.

Postmarked on 11 May 1960.


Service cover sent from the UN Conference on the Application of Science and Technology

to Mr. R.M. Macdonnell, Secretary General. Postmarked on 1 June 1962.


Registered service cover sent by the UN Representative of the Technical Assistance Bureau (TAB) in Ankara to Mr. B.T. Twigt, Secretary General. Postmarked on 3 January 1965.


Service cover sent by the Presidency of the Republic of Bolivia

to Mr. B.T. Twigt, Secretary General. Postmarked on 13 September 1965.

Note the error in the spelling of the name.


Service cover sent to Dr. A. Kotaite, Secretary General. Postmarked on 16 July 1971.


Service cover sent by UNESCO to Mr. Y. Lambert, Secretary General Designated.

Postmarked on 29 June 1976.


Service cover sent to Mr. Y. Lambert, Secretary General. Postmarked on 27 December 1983.


Service cover sent from UPU to Dr. S.S. Sidhu, Secretary General. Postmarked on 8 May 1990.


Cover sent to Dr. P.H.P. Rochat, Secretary General. Postmarked on 28 December 1992.


Cover sent to Mr. R.C. Costa Pereira, Secretary General. Postmarked on 18 December 1998.


Cover sent from Trinidad and Tobago’s CAA to Dr. T. Chérif, Secretary General.

Postmarked on 27 May 2005.


Cover sent from Kosovo’s CAA to Mr. R. Benjamin, Secretary General. Postmarked 7 December 2009.

Note that the above stampless cover was postmarked in Kosovo on 7 December 2009, i.e., on the exact day of ICAO’s 65th anniversary.

It was again postmarked at the entrance into Canada on 21 December 2009 by Canada Post (H4T 1A0 postal code, at the main sorting plant of MacArthur Street in the borough of Saint-Laurent, Montreal), which had developed a special postal code H0H 0H0, as per the following story. In 1974, staff at Canada Post’s Montreal office was noticing a considerable number of letters addressed to Saint Nicholas coming into the postal system, and those letters were being treated as undeliverable. Since those employees did not want the writers, mostly young children, to be disappointed at the lack of response, they started answering the letters themselves. The amount of mail sent to Santa Claus increased every Christmas, up to the point that Canada Post decided to start an official Santa Claus letter-response program in 1983. Approximately one million letters come into Santa Claus each Christmas, including from outside of Canada, and all of them are answered, in the same languages in which they are written. Canada Post introduced a special address for mail to Santa Claus, complete with its own postal code: SANTA CLAUS, NORTH POLE, H0H 0H0, CANADA. In French, Santa's mail is addressed to: PÈRE NOËL, PÔLE NORD, H0H 0H0, CANADA. H0H 0H0 was chosen for this special seasonal use as it reads as "Ho ho ho"....


Service cover sent from the Ministry of Transport and Meteorology in Madagascar to Dr. Fang Liu.

Postmark dated 28 October 2015.

It is interesting to note that this cover was still addressed to ICAO at 999 University Street, although this street was renamed Boulevard Robert-Bourassa since 15 March 2015.


Service cover sent from the International Mobile Satellite Organization to Mr. Juan Carlos Salazar.