In the latest and most significant of several recent personnel developments at the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC), Executive Director Kai Hughes has announced the hiring of the first-ever Head of Textiles and Innovation, Mr Kanwar Usman. Formerly the Director General of the Textile Division in Pakistan’s Ministry of Commerce, he is scheduled to officially begin his employment with the ICAC on 15 August 2021.
‘As the only intergovernmental commodity body recognised by the United Nations that covers cotton, it’s crucial that we are able to support the needs of the full supply chain, from the field all the way to retail’, Mr Hughes said. ‘Kanwar Usman was chosen for this transformational role from a deep and talented pool of candidates and we’re all excited about the new capabilities he will provide to our member countries’.
It’s not difficult to see why Mr Usman was chosen. He has spent 20 years working in various sectors of the textile value chain, the last 14 of which were spent working as Director of R&D and then as Director General in the Textile Division of Pakistan’s Commerce Ministry. His educational achievements include receiving an MBA from the University of East London in 2004 and a Bachelor of Science degree in Textile Engineering (Spinning) from the National Textile University in Faisalabad, Pakistan.
Recognising the importance of his new position at the ICAC, Mr Usman says that ‘cotton, when processed through various segments of the longest industrial supply chain, generates massive employment and value addition. Together we will explore the untapped opportunities in the cotton-textile value chain to improve the economies of our member countries and the livelihoods of their people’.
This hiring is one of several significant personnel changes recently made at the ICAC, including:
- A title change for Dr Keshav Kranthi. Formerly the Head of Technical Information, Dr Kranthi is now Chief Scientist of the ICAC, a move that reflects his increasing activity in field research especially in Africa and India.
- A title change for Parkhi Vats. Formerly a Research Assistant, Ms Vats is now the ICAC’s Commodity Trade Analyst due to her increased focus on trade throughout the supply chain, including government support to industry.
- A soon-to-be-filled opening for Data Scientist. This is a new position was created to replace the ICAC’s previous Statistician role. The job search is currently underway for this open position, which was renamed ‘Data Scientist’ to better reflect the breadth and depth of the position’s responsibilities.
All of these changes were made to better align the Secretariat’s roles with the new direction the organisation has taken recently. Although the ICAC will always maintain its role as the gold standard provider of cotton information, it has become much more active on the ground over the last three years (such as helping smallholders double their yields) and has developed several cutting-edge technologies, including a talking app designed to help illiterate farmers and the ICAC Virtual Reality Cotton Training Programme.
Formed in 1939, the ICAC is an association of cotton producing, consuming and trading countries. It acts as a catalyst for change by helping member countries maintain a healthy world cotton economy; provides transparency to the world cotton market by serving as a clearinghouse for technical information on cotton production; and serves as a forum for discussing cotton issues of international significance. The ICAC does not have a role in setting market prices or in intervening in market mechanisms.