General Assembly and Board

The international Fairtrade system is governed by the General Assembly and the Board of Directors. Members of the international Fairtrade system meet once a year at the General Assembly. This assembly with 50 percent producer representation/50 percent national Fairtrade organization representation decides on membership issues, approves the annual accounts, and ratifies new Board directors.

There are also annual assemblies for each national Fairtrade organization and the producer networks.

The Board of the international Fairtrade system is elected by the General Assembly and includes:

  • four board members nominated by the three producer networks
  • four board members nominated by the national Fairtrade organizations
  • three independent board members

Fairtrade International Board

Marike de Peña, Chair of the Board

Marike de Peña is Director and co-founder of Banelino, a banana cooperative comprising nearly 400 small farmers in the Northwestern Dominican Republic, since 2000. She also is Chair of the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Small Producer Organizations (CLAC) and has served on its board since 2006. 

Marike was born in Holland, but has lived and worked in the Dominican Republic for 25 years. Among other positions, she worked for the Dominican Land Reform Institute, where she supported small farmer groups in developing sustainable agricultural practices. She continued her focus on supporting small farmers by co-founding the Banelino cooperative in 1996. The cooperative works to defend the interests of farmers in the market and promotes strong farmer alliances and organization. Marike is also coordinator of a network of banana farmers, and president of the Dominican national platform for small Fairtrade farmers.

A strong advocate for the power of Fairtrade, Marike believes that it provides the social, economic and environmental conditions necessary for farmers to take control of their own lives and produce real and long-lasting development.

Esther Guluma, Vice Chair

Dr. Esther Guluma is a senior manager and a development professional. She has an extensive knowledge of key issues and organisations in international development, with a record of research, policy advisory and public affairs work, and is also on the Board of Directors of the Israeli Fund for UNICEF.

Having served as the Regional Director for UNICEF in West and Central Africa and as the Deputy Regional Director for South Asia, she accumulated over 30 years of development experience and is familiar with child labour issues. Prior to that, Guluma was a Project Manager for the US Agency for International Development (AID). This, and her previous posts as UNICEF Representative to Benin, and UNICEF Deputy Representative to Liberia and to Kenya, contributed to her extensive experience in advocacy, in particular for child protection and gender.

In addition to her international development experience, Esther Guluma has expertise in research design and teaching at the university level and is currently lecturing at the Medical School for International Health in Israel, as well as in a number of other academic institutions. Esther Guluma has a PhD in Sociology.

Frans De Bie

Frans De Bie is an experienced manager with broad international exposure who has been serving in multinational business environments including Philips, Unilever, Chep and IBM for over 34 years. Having retired in 2005, he is now using this professional experience to serve in the NGO-world as director of Plan Belgium. Since 10 years he is enthusiastically active as board member of Max Havelaar in Belgium, and president since 5 years. He joined the Board of Fairtrade International in 2012.

De Bie has always had a strong interest in various cultures and developing world problems. As general manager of Chep, he started a fund called "the world, my village" to support NGO projects in the south. Based on that experience he became a co-founder of KAURI, a Belgian cooperation of businesses and NGO's striving for Corporate Social Responsibility with a focus on third world issues. 

Gulam Juma

Gulam Juma is a highly qualified senior executive with extensive and broad international experience in the private and non-profit sectors.  He is currently the Chief Operating Officer of World Trade Advisors, as well as Ambassador & Chief Operating Officer of World Academy.TV and Chief Operating Officer for World Tech Advisors. Previously, Mr Juma worked with the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), where he spent 14 years with Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS) and six years with Filtisac in Cote D’Ivoire, West Africa. Prior to this, he worked with Nestle Enterprises Limited in Canada.

Juma’s experience includes strategic planning and tactical execution; coaching, mentoring and leadership development; re-engineering, reorganization and restructuring; corporate social responsibility implementation and instilling ethical frameworks within organizations; financial stewardship and management; government relations; and governance and board development. He has a rich global perspective on different cultures and business nuances, as he has provided coordination and oversight support to missions in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, India, Pakistan, Russia, Syria, Europe and the UK, and lived in three continents.

Bernhard Herold Thelesklaf

Bernhard Herold Thelesklaf is an experienced NGO-professional with expert knowledge of multi-stakeholder processes and the Fair Trade movement. He was Director of Quality and International Cooperation at Max Havelaar Switzerland from 2009 to 2012, and prior to this played a key role in establishing and building up the presence of the Fair Wear Foundation in Switzerland. Bernhard also worked for the Swiss development agency Bread for All, where he was responsible for Fair Trade issues and successfully launched a Swiss textile verification project focussing on improving working conditions in garment factories. From 1992 until 2002 he worked for Switzerland's State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), where he first dealt with economic relations to Central and Eastern European Countries and later worked as an expert for trade in processed agricultural products.

Bernhard also has a background in organic agriculture and has a degree in Agricultural Economics. Since 2013 he has been working as an independent consultant for sustainable trade and development, but is currently writing a hiking guide about the Julian Alps in Slovenia and Italy.

Wanja Lundby-Wedin

Wanja Lundby-Wedin has been President of the Swedish Trade Union Confederation since 2000. Between 2007 and 2011 she also held the role of President of the European Trade Union Confederation.

After having worked as an assistant nurse in Stockholm, she began her trade union career in 1981 at the Swedish Municipal Workers’ Union, and has remained a passionate trade unionist ever since. She is committed to the vision of a just society, where all have access to a decent working environment.



Bharath Mandanna

Bharath Mandanna is Vice President of the Plantation Division of Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation Ltd, where he has worked for over three decades. He is responsible for the corporation’s tea & coffee plantations in India and Tanzania. All the tea plantations are Fairtrade certified.

He is also the chair of the Nominations Committee and a member of the Finance Committee of Fairtrade International.

Bharath was the Chairman of the Indian Fairtrade certified producers network for four years between 2006 to 2010, known as the Association of Indian Fairtrade Producers (AIFP). He has been an active board member of the Network of Asia and Pacific Producers (NAPP) for five years and was elected Chairman of the NAPP at the General Assembly in January 2012, reelected in 2014.

Noel Oettle

Noel Maxwell Oettlé was born and educated in Cape Town. He represents producer organizations in Africa and is also a Board member of the African Fairtrade Network. After farming fruit for 13 years, he began working in the fields of rural development and sustainable resources. 1989 he joined the University of KwaZulu Natal, and subsequently became the director of the Farmer Support Group, and agricultural development and extension institute of the university.

Among other positions he took over the years, Oettlé contributed to a couple of United Nations Agreements and projects. During one of the UNCCD’s pilot projects, he provided support to a Fairtrade certified tea producer organisation. Since then, many other farmers relied on his help and knowledge.

Fair Trade has been an important focus of his work since 2003, and he has been involved in the movement in different ways, from working with producers to participating in the governance of the fair trade system nationally and internationally. He was instrumental in establishing the Association for Fairness in Trade and the Southern African Fairtrade Network (now Fairtrade Africa Southern African Region) and remains convinced that fair trade can deliver important developmental benefits to disadvantaged communities.

Jean-Paul Rigaudeau

Jean-Paul Rigaudeau is an executive with experience in health care and consumer goods in the United States, Europe, Japan and Latin America. He spent 30 years in leading positions in blue chip companies such as Beiersdorf (Nivea), Johnson&Johnson and Kraft, where he was EU President with responsibility for the coffee and chocolate businesses in particular. From 2009 to 2013, he was the CEO of Unilabs, Europe’s leading supplier of diagnostic services.

Rigaudeau has extensive experience in global management, growth strategy and team development. He has served on numerous boards, including the German Branded Goods Association.

Chief Adam Tampuri

Chief Adam Tampuri has been actively involved in the Fairtrade movement for many years. His co-operative is based in Bole, a small town in northern Ghana, where he lives and also serves as the traditional ruler of the area.

Currently he chairs the board of Fairtrade Africa, the producer network representing Fairtrade certified producers across Africa. Additionally he is serving as a board member of both Fairtrade Germany and the Fairtrade Foundation in the UK.

Chief Adam has been very active within the Fairtrade Climate Advocacy Working Group since its formation. He also joined other producer representatives from around the world at the UN Climate Change Conferences COP 16, 17 and 18 in Mexico, South Africa and Qatar, to make the voices of smallholders heard and to call for more support for small farmers to adapt to the pressing challenges they face through climate change.

Share this page: 

Copyright © 2011 Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International, e.V. | Sitemap  |  Accessibility  |  Impressum  |   Privacy  |  Credits