ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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American Official Assumes Presidency of International Organization for Standardization

Oliver R. Smoot, former ANSI Chairman, takes office on January 1, 2003

Washington, DC / New York, NY / Geneva, Switzerland, Jan 01, 2003

Mr. Oliver R. Smoot takes office today as President of the International Organization for Standardization, a worldwide federation of national standards bodies with representatives from 145 countries. Smoot served as President-elect of the organization for the past year; he succeeds Mario Cortopassi of Brazil as the organization’s chief elected officer. He is the second American to hold this position within the past decade.

Smoot’s term, extending through December 31, 2004, comes at a point when international standardization is called on to respond to the globalization of trade, the issues posed by new challenges such as sustainable development, and the requirements of the information society.

“As I succeed to the Presidency, I witness ISO clearly focusing all its efforts to ensure that its standards and guides are truly Globally Relevant, meeting the needs of all, enabling valid tests and supporting valid conformity assessment,” Smoot stated.

ISO is in a unique position to provide International Standards based on consensus among the economic stakeholders, while taking into account the needs of developing countries. Today, there are nearly 14,000 ISO standards addressing all economic sectors. ISO’s members are the national standards institutes of countries large and small, industrialized and developing, in all regions of the world.

As the first of several key issues he sees facing the organization, the new President identified the need to get the developing countries of the world more actively involved in the technical work of ISO.

“There are a lot of technical areas where the interest is probably higher in developing countries than in developed countries, and they don’t have the capacity to take them all on,” Smoot stated. “We would like to increase the range of different economies and the number of ISO members participating in technical work, to make sure that the ISO standards are actually global standards.”

Another of his key issues focuses on the identification of new areas for standardization, such as services, and the development of innovative ways to inform participants in the technical area of what ISO can do for them. Smoot also identified the importance of obtaining the views of industry, consumers and other stakeholders on their future needs. “We will not achieve global relevancy if [ISO] documents do not meet identified needs or are untimely,” he said.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), coordinator of the U.S. voluntary consensus standardization and conformity assessment system and the U.S. member body to ISO, nominated Smoot during 2001 to be ISO’s president-elect and then president. “We believe that his expertise in the standards, technology and law communities makes him uniquely qualified to lead ISO,” stated Dr. Mark W. Hurwitz, CAE, ANSI president and chief executive officer. “ANSI extends its appreciation to Mr. Smoot for his leadership and guidance as our chairman, and we wish him every success as President of ISO.”

Smoot served as chairman of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Board of Directors from January 2001 through December 2002; he previously served in numerous leadership posts within the organization. As vice-president for external voluntary standards relations of the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), Mr. Smoot supports ITI’s activities in voluntary standards domestically and internationally. He is also an active member of the American Bar Association and currently serves as chairman of its Technical Standardization Law Committee; he has previously served as chairman of the Section on Science and Technology Law. Active in international copyright law, Smoot participated in five projects of the World Intellectual Property Organization to develop copyright as a legal protection for computer programs. He also served in numerous positions with the Computer Law Association, culminating as President, and currently serves on the Executive Committee of the U.S. Policy Committee of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

Three Americans preceded Smoot as Presidents of ISO. Mr. Howard Coonley (1947-1949); Dr. Francis L. LaQue, a leading authority in the field of corrosion and corrosion resisting materials (1971- 1973), and more recently, Mr. John A Hinds, an executive with experience in telecommunications, nuclear and environmental engineering as well as international management (1992 - 1994).

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