Pekka J. Tarjanne

Pekka J. Tarjanne
Pekka J. Tarjanne
Stockholm, Sweden
Associated organizations
International Telecommunication Union
Fields of study
IEEE Award in International Communication, IEEE Honorary Membership


Pekka Johannes Tarjanne was born on September 19, 1937 in Stockholm, Sweden. He received the Ph.D. degree from the Helsinki University of Technology in 1962. Following graduation he engaged in research and taught in Denmark and the United States, returning to Finland to teach theoretical physics at the University of Oulu in 1965 and at the University of Helsinki from 1967 to 1977.

Dr. Turjanne was President of the Finnish Liberal Party from 1968 to 1978. During his term of office as party leader, he was a Member of Parliament from 1970 to 1977 and Minister of Transport and Communications from 1972 to 1975. He also served as the Minister responsible for Nordic cooperation.

In 1977, he was appointed Director-General of Posts and Telecommunications of Finland. In this capacity, he presided over the restructuring of the telecommunication sector, the deregulation of telecommunication and terminal equipment services, and the conversion of Posts and Telecommunications as a whole into a commercial company.

Dr. Tarjanne was elected Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) by the Nice Plenipotentiary Conference, for a term beginning in November 1989, and was reelected by the Kyoto Plenipotentiary Conference for a second term as of January 1995. The ITU, originally founded in 1865, assumed its modern form in 1932 and became an arm of the United Nations in 1947. It currently serves more than 186 government and 400 private sector members.

Under Pekka Tarjanne's leadership the structure, working methods, product and service portfolio, and management practices of the International Telecommunication Union have all been reformed. His achievements include streamlining the finance, human resources and information systems; simplifying the ITU radio regulations; accelerating the global telecommunications standards development and approval process; re-focusing development activities on the requirements of the rapidly changing telecommunications industry; and enlarging the scope of activities to reflect the convergence of telecommunications, computer, broadcasting and information technologies and to focus on issues related to the global information infrastructure.

He is now devoting himself to finding ways of enhancing the role of the private sector in the ITU decision-making process; developing a new role for the ITU -- as a forum for the exchange of information and discussion of global telecommunications issues; and, continuing to improve international cooperation.

Pekka Tarjanne, who speaks Finnish, Swedish, English, German and French, is married to Aina Kairamo. They have three children.