José Maria Figueres Olsen joined the Carbon War Room as its Chairman in 2009; In 2012 he became the organization’s President (Chief Executive). José María stepped down in 2017 as he seeks reelection for the presidency of Costa Rica in 2018. After a successful business career, José María served as Minister of State and was later elected President of Costa Rica (1994–1998) at the age of 39.
As President he created a comprehensive national development strategy based on the tenets of sustainability: sound economics, investment in human development, and a strong alliance with nature. José María pioneered the linkage between sustainable development and technology, which he continued after his time in government by helping to create the United Nations’ ICT Task Force, and then serving as its first Chairperson in 1999. He was also the first CEO of the World Economic Forum, where he strengthened global corporate ties to social and governmental sectors. Later he was named CEO of Concordia 21, dedicated to supporting organizations that promote development and democratic values around the world. In 2013, José María helped launch the Global Ocean Commission to formulate politically and technically feasible recommendations to address key issues facing the high seas. He currently serves as its Co-Chair.