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A list of Directors-General of the South Pole NIZ. Directors-General also serve, ex officio, as the Chairmen of the Antarctic Assembly, an organization which is almost synonymous with the NIZ. As this Assembly has such powerful authority in Antarctica, the Director-General is often considered one of the most powerful men on the continent.
Directors-General serve five-year terms. Only representatives in the Antarctic Assembly are eligible to run for the office; and they are elected by their fellow representatives. Directors-General from the same territory can not serve consecutive terms.
Typically, representatives — and, therefore, Directors-General — are either prominent scientists or politicians in their home territories. As the NIZ has never had a female Director-General, and most of the voting base (the Assembly's representatives) are male, many have accused the organization of being sexist. Indeed, only two female candidates have ever mounted significant campaigns (Edwina James of New Devon in 1990, and Wilhelmina Zimmermann of New Swabia in 2000).
At present, every Antarctic territory except Maudland, New Swabia, Kerguelen, Balleny Islands and Ross and Scott has controlled the Director-General's office for at least one term (though both Maudland and New Swabia have launched unsuccessful campaigns in the past). Byrdia and New Devon hold the joint record for the longest control of the office, at 15 years.
In regard to the upcoming 2015 election, both Balleny and Ross and Scott have announced that they will not be nominating a candidate; while Kerguelen has already confirmed the renowned oceanographer Yves-Joseph Montbleu as its first ever nomination, and New Vestfold is expected to put forward the famed Australian astronomer Basil Arnot. So far, no other territories have issued statements about the election.
- Note: Directors-General marked with an asterisk (*) were recipients of the Antarctic Tuzelmann Award.
|Julius A. Krug *|| United States|
|1950||1955||Former US Secretary of the Interior. Was appointed by President Truman, and approved by the joint American–British committee which established the NIZ. Oversaw the post-WWII trials.|
|Sir Ethelstan Maudesly||Eduarda||1955||1960||First Director-General to be elected in the typical way.|
|McKinley O'Hara|| United States|
|1960||1965||Nomination was backed by President Eisenhower. First Byrdian resident to hold the office.|
|Orville Bates||New Devon||1965||1970|
|James Formby||Eduarda||1970||1975||Oversaw the formation of the Ognian Republic.|
|John Lombard|| Australia|
|1975||1980||Oversaw the beginning of the South Atlantic War. Later Administrator of New Vestfold.|
|Lawrence Everett||New Devon||1980||1985||Oversaw most of the South Atlantic War.|
|Dmitri Pagovich *||United States / Byrdia||1985||1990||First ethnic Russian Director-General. Oversaw the Green Revolution, the Montreal Protocol, and the independence of Byrdia and New Devon.|
|Nelson Muntikai *||Ognia||1990||1995||First indigenous Antarctic Director-General. Formerly a major leader of the Green Revolution.|
|Nikita Dukhashvili||Bellinsgauzenia||1995||2000||First Bellinsgauzenian Director-General. Bellinsgauzenia's boycott of the Antarctic Assembly ended in 1987.|
|Emilio de la Rosa||Santiago||2000||2005||Has also held many high-profile offices in Santiago.|
|Alfred Richardson||New Devon||2005||2010||Oversaw the many environmental disasters of the 2000s.|
|Anatoly Chistoy||Bellinsgauzenia||2010||Incumbent||Oversaw the dissolution of the Ross Dependency.|
Antarctic historian George Radley identified three distinct "eras" in the history of the Antarctic Assembly's Chairmen:
- Conservative (Krug, 1950 – Lombard, 1975) — The Chairmen during this era were all from Byrdia or the Commonwealth; and generally supported and maintained the control over Antarctica held by the American, Australian and British authorities.
- Progressive (Everett, 1980 – Dukhashvili, 1995) — This era saw four more radical Chairmen who broke away from the influence of the Commonwealth and the United States. The first ethnic Russian (Pagovich), Indigenous (Muntikai) and Bellinsgauzenian (Dukhashvili) Chairmen all served during this period.
- Modern (de la Rosa, 2000 – present) — Following the radical changes of the Progressive era, the three Modern Chairmen have been relatively moderate and have "calmed" the continent.