After a long career in the Tunisian administration, first as chef de cabinet for the Minister of Agriculture (1993–1997) and the Minister of the Interior (1997–2001) and then as Secretary of State for Fisheries in 2001 and the Environment in 2002–2003, this 65-year-old agronomist, a graduate of the University of Minnesota, held the post of IOC Executive Director between 2004 and 2007. Later, from 2007 until 2010, he took up appointment as Deputy Director in charge of the Technical and Promotion Divisions at the IOC Executive Secretariat. Upon his return to Tunis, he was appointed Minister of Interior in the provisional government in 2011, and later security affairs adviser to the Prime Minister.
In November 2012, the chair of the International Olive Council fell to Tunisia according to the provisions of the 2005 International Agreement on Olive Oil and Table Olives – the very same Agreement which Mr Essid had negotiated at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) upon his arrival at the IOC – and Mr Essid was picked by the Tunisian Minister of Agriculture to chair the Organisation. At the end of April 2014, he will hand over this post to Turkey, which currently holds the vice chair.
Mr Essid has just bought a farm close to the Tunisian capital where he will be able to spend his free time growing olives and making his own olive oil. His many years at the IOC will have equipped him with the necessary expertise to choose the right varieties and the right cultural techniques. If in doubt, he can always consult the staff at the IOC!