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Change of Guards in the Ecma Management

Mr. Jan van den Beld, Secretary General of Ecma International, has retired after 16 years of successful service in the office


Geneva, 2 April 2007

Mr. Jan van den Beld, Secretary General of Ecma International, has retired after 16 years of successful service in the office. Dr. Istvan Sebestyen, Deputy Secretary of Ecma International, became his successor.

In an internal message Mr. van den Beld wrote: “ I would like to thank all of you personally and as experts in various roles in- and outside Ecma, for your daytime jobs, for the evenings we shared, for the discussions we have had, for all the Ecma publications you have made possible, for your professional contributions, and for your many moments of friendship.

I have joined Ecma over 16 years ago but I don’t remember any dull moment. To say it with the words of Odysseus, after he had spent 100 nights with the goddess Circe, it was as if it was one night. It has gone incredibly fast, but still always with a human touch, and with lots of tangible results: Ecma has published 147 standards in the first 30 years since its start, and 229 in the last 15 years till 2007. Only possible with your persistence, expertise, energy and co-operative spirit, always eager to find solutions.

Although many things have changed over the last 15 to 25 years, I still strongly believe in the Ecma process, its flexibility and built-in ingenuity possibilities and, above all, its possibilities to balance speed of development of a standard and its quality as document. It was a real, great pleasure to work with all of you. I sincerely hope that you will support my successor, Istvan Sebestyen, equally well as you have done to me.

I like to thank the Ecma Management who have allowed me to work with so much guidance as well as freedom during all the years. It has been a real pleasure amidst so many rapid changes within the ICT industry where the human factor has come under increasing pressure.

Finally, I also want to express my deep thanks to the Ecma staff without which a machinery such as Ecma could not have run that well. Chapeau!

“Jan’s contribution to the success of Ecma International cannot be overstated” said John Neumann of Toshiba Corporation, Ecma International President. “We are looking forward with great enthusiasm to the contribution that Istvan’s wide experience brings to the job”.

Dr. Istvan Sebestyen was appointed in the June 2006 General Assembly of Ecma International in Sapporo as the next Secretary General. After having worked for more than 21 years in the field of standardization at Siemens in Munich, Germany, he joined Ecma International first as Deputy Secretary General for the last couple of months of Mr. van den Beld’s service to allow a smooth transition of leadership in the Ecma Secretariat. Previously Dr. Sebestyen had worked in various positions with several standardization bodies and consortia, such as ITU, ISO, ETSI, DIN, IMTC etc. At last he served among others as Vice Chairman of ITU-T SG16 (Multimedia), and as the President of the International Multimedia Telecommunications Consortium (IMTC).  At Siemens Communications he worked as Director of Standards, specializing on the areas Multimedia and Enterprise Communications Networks.

We are all extremely grateful to Jan for his outstanding service to Ecma over the many years, and in particular to his skills to initiate again and again exiting new standardization topics at Ecma” said Istvan Sebestyen. “We will miss him very much in the Secretariat both professionally and personally, but we hope to continue to serve the Ecma membership with the same high level of service. We wish Jan the very best for his retirement, while we still hope to count on his great experience and good advices”.

About Ecma International

Since its inception in 1961, Ecma International (Ecma) has developed standards for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Consumer Electronics (CE). Ecma is a non-profit industry association of technology developers, vendors and users. Experts from industry and other organizations work together at Ecma to develop standards. Ecma submits its work for approval as ISO, IEC, ISO/IEC and ETSI standards and is a frequent practitioner of "fast tracking" of specifications through the standardisation process in International Standards Organisations (ISOs). Publications can be downloaded free of charge from

For more information: please contact Dr. Istvan Sebestyen, Secretary General of Ecma International. Email:

Istvan Sebestyen
Ecma Secretary General