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Matthias Thorns

Deputy Secretary General

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As Deputy Secretary-General, Matthias Thorns has a part in the overall responsibility for the management of the IOE Secretariat in its work to support the global business community in its representation vis-a-vis the UN institutions, as well as G20, G7 and other international initiatives.

His career began as Adviser for Social Affairs in the European Business Federation UNICE (now BUSINESSEUROPE), before moving to the Confederation of German Employers (BDA) as Adviser and later Deputy Director of the International and European Affairs Department, looking after European and International Social Policy, CSR and Human Rights as well as OECD ELSA matters.

After leaving the Confederation of German Employers in 2012, Matthias joined the IOE as Senior Adviser, leading the work on Human Rights, G20 and G7, Global Supply Chains as well as SMEs. In 2017 Matthias joined the Workplace Rights team of The Coca-Cola Company as Human Rights and Workplace Rights Manager, where he was among other things responsible for the planning, coordinating and drafting of the first stand-alone Human Rights Report of The Coca-Cola Company, the Human Rights training for bottling partners as well as the roll-out of the revised human rights policy of the Coca-Cola Company across the regions. He was also engaged in the preparation and follow-up to meetings with IUF.

In 2018 he was appointed IOE Director of Stakeholder Engagement and a year later IOE Deputy Secretary-General. Matthias supervises the IOE’s work related to G20 and G7, human rights, agenda 2030, migration and programmes under an EU framework agreement, and is responsible for the IOE company networks: the Global Industrial Relations Network (GIRN), the Global Occupational Safety and Health Network (GOSH) as well as the Corporate Partner Initiative.

Matthias is a member of the Governance Committee of the Centre for Sports and Human Rights, the UN Global Compact Expert Network, Co-Chair of the ILO Child Labour Platform and member of the Global Coordination Group of the Alliance 8.7. Matthias holds a Master of Arts in European Studies and a Magister Artium in History and Philosophy, both from the University of Hannover. He participated in the CGF “Future Leaders Programme” in 2018 and in the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) of the U.S. State Department in July 2012.
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