Ambassador to China Appointed New CEO of the Austrian Development Agency

More+Work & Careers ♦ Published: May 5, 2021; 14:07 ♦ (Vindobona)

Friedrich Stift succeeds Martin Ledolter as CEO of the Austrian Development Agency (ADA). Who is Dr. Friedrich Stift and what is his background?

Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz (right) in conversation with the Austrian Ambassador to Iran, Friedrich Stift (center) in 2014. / Picture: © BMEIA Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äußeres / Dragan Tatic / Flickr Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Austria's Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg announced that Ambassador Friedrich Stift has been appointed as the new CEO of the Austrian Development Agency (ADA).

A top diplomat at the Foreign Ministry, Stift will take over in the summer of 2021 as head of the Austrian Development Agency, which has a staff of about 250 and is responsible for implementing bilateral programs and projects for sustainable development with a total volume of 550 million euros. 

Friedrich Stift currently serves as ambassador to the People's Republic of China.

Previously, he was Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

At home in Vienna, Dr. Stift, who holds a doctorate in law, headed the Middle East Department of the Foreign Ministry for four years and was Deputy Political Director.

During his career Dr. Friedrich Stift, M.A. (born May 30, 1961) has served in various capacities, among them:

  • 1987: Interunfall Insurance in Vienna
  • 1989-1992: Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Press Department, Office of the Secretary General)
  • 1992-1995: Austrian Embassy Washington
  • 1995-1999: Austrian Embassy Riyadh
  • 1999-2002: Office of the Secretary General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • 2002-2004: Deputy Chief of Mission at the Austrian Embassy Beijing
  • 2004-2008: Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • 2009-2013: Head of the Middle East Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • 2012-2013: Deputy Political Director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • 2013-2017: Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Iran
  • Since 2017: Ambassador to the People's Republic of China
  • From Summer 2021: CEO of the Austrian Development Agency

Dr. Stift holds a Law degree from the University of Vienna (1980-1985) and studied at the Johns Hopkins University in Bologna and Washington (1987-1989, SAIS, M.A.).

The Appointment Commission - consisting of Secretary General Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, Head of Section Désirée Schweitzer, Head of the Human Resources Department Romana Königsbrun and Head of the EZA Department Christine Freilinger - assessed Ambassador Stift as the only one among 17 applicants (eight women, nine men) as "highly suitable" and recommended to Foreign Minister Schallenberg to entrust Friedrich Stift with the leadership of ADA. The Foreign Minister has complied with this unanimous proposal of the Appointment Commission.

"ADA performs excellent and internationally highly recognized work. This is not least due to the activities of Martin Ledolter, whom I would like to sincerely thank for his valuable work over the past years," said Schallenberg.

"In view of the increasing funds for development cooperation, it is important to ensure close interlinkage with the foreign policy goals of the German government. Stift can make an important contribution here thanks to his wide-ranging experience," Schallenberg concluded.

Austrian Development Agency

Bundesministerium für europäische und internationale Angelegenheiten