Roberto Azevedo, picked on Tuesday to head the World Trade Organization, is in every respect the quintessential Brazilian diplomat: a well-spoken, competent and smooth negotiator with a knack for wooing adversaries into his corner.
A career diplomat with two decades of experience dealing with trade disputes, Azevedo will need those qualities more than ever to bridge the gap between developed and developing nations if he wants to reboot stalled global trade negotiations and breathe new life into the Geneva-based WTO.
It is a huge task. With the global economy still struggling, protectionism is on the rise and faith in free trade - and the WTO itself - is running low in many countries.
Experts said the choice of a new WTO director from an emerging economy could help encourage more developing nations to open up to free trade.
"This is a major move to bring more developing countries into the liberalization of world trade. It doesn't necessarily mean reinvigorating the Doha Round because it has a lot of political baggage," said Jeffrey Bergstrand, professor of finance at the University of Notre Dame.