New Executive Director appointed to head UN World Food Programme

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the head of the organization’s largest agricultural agency jointly appointed a new chief for the World Food Programme, officials announced at WFP’s headquarters in Rome today.The WFP’s Executive Board welcomed the appointment of Josette Sheeran, currently the United States Under Secretary of State, Economic, Business and Economic Affairs, said Mirza Qamar Beg, Board President and Ambassador of Pakistan. “Ms. Sheeran has outstanding credentials,” Mr. Beg said. “WFP’s Member States look forward to working with her to bring assistance to the millions of people who struggle with hunger daily.”When Mr. Annan and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) head Jacques Diouf appointed Ms. Sheeran, with the concurrence of WFP’s Board, the food agency’s current Executive Director, James Morris heartily welcomed the decision.“Ms. Sheeran has outstanding credentials,” said Mr. Morris, who remains in office until the end of the year. “I have great confidence in Ms. Sheeran – her dedication and humanitarian commitment will help WFP mobilize widespread support and concern for the millions of people worldwide who suffer from hunger each day.”Ms. Sheeran will take office at the beginning of 2007 as WFP’s new chief, the food agency said. Prior to her current job as under secretary of state, Ms. Sheeran was Deputy US Trade Representative, the managing director of a Wall Street-listed technology company, the president of a Washington DC think tank, and managing editor of The Washington Times newspaper. Ambassador George McGovern, who helped found WFP in 1963, lauded her dedication, adding that “Josette Sheeran has expressed great personal concern about the global poor and finding innovative programmes and policies to empower them so they can lift themselves out of poverty.”The WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency. Last year, it assisted 97 million people, with a total expenditure of $3.1 billion, offering food aid in emergencies and protecting the health and nutrition of at-risk women and children.