Catherine Bertini named UN’s top management official
Secretary-General Kofi Annan today appointed Catherine Bertini, the former head of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), as the UN's top management official, effective 1 January.
“She brings a wealth of experience that is going to be needed in this building,” the Secretary-General said at a press conference to introduce Ms. Bertini, a national of the United States. He cited her 10 years of service at WFP, where she instituted major reform programmes, as well as experience at the state and federal levels of government in the US, and in the private sector.
In her remarks to the press, Ms. Bertini pledged her full efforts to help Mr. Annan with his second reform agenda. “It will be an honour to work on all issues relative to the administration of the UN to help ensure the Secretary-General’s success on that area,” she said.
The second woman to hold the post, Ms. Bertini succeeds Joseph Connor, who served for eight years as the Under-Secretary-General for Management. Mr. Annan paid tribute to Mr. Connor’s efforts, saying that he brought modern management practices to the UN. “His previous experience as chairman of Price Waterhouse came in handy at a time when we were going through a very difficult financial crisis,” the Secretary-General said.
Ms. Bertini inherits a job with a number of challenges, including a near-constant budget shortfall and the proposed renovation of the UN Headquarters building in New York. Among other top priorities, the Secretary-General said Ms. Bertini would focus on implementing ongoing reforms, improve the UN’s communication and information technology, intensify the Organization’s efforts to attain gender balance, strive for better coordination between the UN’s myriad funds and programmes, and continue the revamping of the UN’s budget processes and human resources management.