​Ana Palacio resigned from the posts of Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the World Bank Group, and Secretary-General of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), effective April 15, 2008.

Ms. Palacio, a Spanish national, was unanimously elected as Secretary-General by the Administrative Council of ICSID in 2006. Prior to joining the Bank Group and ICSID, she held a number of distinguished positions in both the political and legal arenas. From 2004 to 2006, she was a member of the Spanish Parliament where she chaired the Joint Committee of the Two Houses for European Affairs. Immediately prior to this, she served as Foreign Minister of Spain from 2002 to 2004. Before undertaking this post, Ms. Palacio was a member of the European Parliament. Ms. Palacio has held the most senior positions in the governing bodies of the Madrid Bar and the European Bar.

As Secretary-General of ICSID, Ms. Palacio spearheaded a number of initiatives to strengthen the operations of the Secretariat and to modernize its practices and procedures. These initiatives have enabled ICSID to update its strategic focus and maintain its status as the leading international arbitration institution devoted to investor-State dispute settlement. Ms. Palacio initiated a reorganization of the Secretariat’s staffing structure, which was improved by the creation of staff teams and the filling of the position of Deputy Secretary-General, a post which had been vacant for two years. During her tenure, mechanisms were put in place to strengthen ICSID’s finances and enhance its internal financial controls.

A new website was launched to improve ICSID’s internet presence and to provide for faster and more user-friendly access to information about ICSID and its activities. A major undertaking during Ms. Palacio’s tenure was the launch of a technology upgrade project intended to create an integrated electronic system for case management. Also during Ms. Palacio’s tenure, the Centre’s caseload continued to increase significantly, reaching a total of 264 pending and concluded cases. Concerted efforts were made by the ICSID Secretariat to expand and diversify the pool of arbitrators, particularly with respect to gender and nationality, and with emphasis being given to those coming from developing countries.

In announcing Ms. Palacio’s departure, World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick noted that Nassib G. Ziadé, Deputy Secretary-General of ICSID, would serve as Acting Secretary-General of ICSID effective April 16, 2008.