Australia's former finance minister Mathias Cormann was elected on Friday as the new head of the OECD, sources close to the group that advises advanced economies told AFP.
The 51-year-old politician was chosen "by a slim majority" during a meeting of ambassadors of the 37-nation Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development based in Paris.
A powerbroker in the ruling centre-right Liberal party and Australia's longest-serving finance minister, Cormann quit parliament late last year to seek the top job.
But his candidacy was dogged by complaints from environmental groups that his record on climate change did not qualify him for the OECD job.
He emerged as a surprise frontrunner, and beat out fellow top contender, Sweden's Cecilia Malmstrom, a former EU trade commissioner.
He will succeed Mexico's Angel Gurria, who ends his third-five year term in May.