ILO chief Somavia to step down early due to family reasons

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The head of the UN labour agency Juan Somavia said Friday that he would leave his job earlier than expected due to family reasons.

Somavia's third term as director general of the International Labour Organisation was meant to end March in 2014, but he will now step down on September 30, 2012.

"The announcement is being made now to allow the ILO enough time to set in motion the process to elect his successor," said the agency.

The Chilean said he needed to leave in a year's time "because, after nine years as Chiles Ambassador to the United Nations in New York and the thirteen years he has been at the helm of the ILO, he believes it has now become necessary for him to return home to be near those close to him."

Born 21 April 1941, Somavia took over the helm of the ILO in 1999.

He is married to Adriana Santa Cruz with whom he has two children and three grand-daughters.

© 2011 AFP

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