He was appointed the Chairman of UN-Energy in 2009 and formerly served as Director-General of UNIDO from 2005 to 2013. He often speaks and writes about global issues such as poverty and climate change.
He earned a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Illinois.
He was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green White & Blue Commission.
He married Philomena Yumkella.
Yumkella has appeared several times in Christiane Amanpour's show on CNN.