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Tributes pour in after former Goldman and BP chair Peter Sutherland dies

Lucy Burton
Peter Sutherland, special representative of the United Nations Secretary general for migration and development, was one of Europe's most influential figures. 

One of Europe's most influential figures Peter Sutherland, the founding director general of the World Trade Organization and former chair of Goldman Sachs and BP, has died at the age of 71.  

The Dublin-born barrister held a string of high-profile roles across business and government during his lifetime, being awarded an honorary knighthood in 2003 - when he was still chairman of Goldman Sachs International and oil giant BP - for his services to British trade and international business.

He was Ireland's youngest attorney general before going on to become the European Commissioner responsible for competition policy during the 1980s and then head of the World Trade Organization (WTO) until 1995. 

He took on the job for Goldman Sachs that year, remaining as chairman of the Wall Street bank's overseas arm until 2015. He stepped down as chairman of Europe’s largest oil company BP in 2009 after a 12-year stint. 

Described by Ireland's deputy prime minister Simon Coveney as one of Ireland's most influential people "in business, politics and human rights globally," he was most recently the United Nations' special representative on international migration. 

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker described him as a "giant of Irish, European and international public life" in a tweet on Sunday afternoon.

"In every sense of the word Peter Sutherland was a true European," Mr Juncker said in a statement. "He believe strongly in the work of the European Union and other international organisations and their importance for cooperation and international dialogue." 

Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar praised him as "a champion for individual and economic freedoms" and "a statesman in every sense of the word; an Irishman, a committed European and a proud internationalist."