Until February 2009, he was the Executive Head of the United Nations Development Programme. In 2001-2002, as Minister of Economic Affairs and the Treasury of Turkey, Derviş was responsible for launching Turkey’s successful recovery from a devastating financial crisis. Derviş is a Member of the Board of Overseers of Sabanci University in Istanbul and contributes to the work of that university, particularly on European and Regional issues. He also chairs the International Advisory Board of Akbank.
Prior to his tenure as Minister of Economic Affairs, Derviş had a 22-year career at the World Bank, where he became Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa in 1996 and Vice President for Poverty Reduction and Economic Management in 2000. At the World Bank he also managed work on the transition of Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin wall, trade and financial sector policies in emerging markets and the reconstruction of Bosnia.
From the end of 2002 to the summer of 2005, Derviş was a member of the Turkish Parliament representing his native city of Istanbul. During that period Derviş was one of the two Turkish representatives to the Convention of the Future of Europe. Since then he has participated in various international and European task forces and networks such as the Global Progressive Forum, the Progressive Governance Network, the Task Force on Global Public Goods and the Commission on Growth and Development.
In March 2015, Derviş agreed to become the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey responsible for the economy in a cabinet led by Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu should his party form the government after the 2015 general election to be held in June. He declined to become a Member of Parliament however, stating that he would prefer to participate in the cabinet from outside Parliament. He is therefore the first and remains the only shadow minister in Turkey.
Derviş earned his Bachelor and Master’s degrees in economics from the London School of Economics, and his Ph.D. from Princeton University. He taught economics at Princeton and the Middle East Technical Universities before joining the World Bank. He currently co-teaches a graduate course on Global Economic Governance as Adjunct Professor at Columbia University.
He has published many articles in academic journals as well as current affairs publications. A book entitled “A Better Globalization”, was published by Brookings Press for the Center for Global Development in 2005 and focused on global economic governance issues. He has since co-authored a book on income distribution in America and edited a book on Asia and Policy making for the Global Economy. Derviş is fluent in English, Turkish, French and German.