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Joseph E. Connor, UN’s top manager, retires

Joseph E. Connor, UN’s top manager, retires

The United Nations’ top manager has retired after eight years of shepherding the world body through fiscal crises and instituting reforms initiated by Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Tuesday was the last day on the job for Joseph E. Connor, who since May 1994 has served as the Under Secretary-General for Management. He will be replaced by former World Food Programme (WFP) chief Catherine Bertini, who will assume her duties on Monday.

Since joining the UN, Mr. Connor has built up its reputation as a well-run organization by relentlessly pursuing the goals of the UN reform agenda, improving efficiency and maintaining no-growth budgets, according to UN spokesperson Hua Jiang.

“In response to a decision by the Secretary-General, Mr. Connor introduced results-based budgeting, which emphasizes achieving strategic goals, not just the bottom line,” she said.

When the United States Congress passed the Helms-Biden legislation outlining a path for the payment of US arrears to the UN, Mr. Connor engineered the meeting of the required benchmarks allowing the US to curtail nearly two decades of withholding dues payments.

Mr. Connor also introduced a centrally computerized system for all UN administrative processes, revised UN personnel practices to emphasize merit over tenure and designed the plan for the refurbishment of the 52-year-old Headquarters complex in New York, which the General Assembly approved late last month.

Mr. Connor also assisted the Secretary-General in establishing the Office for Internal Oversight Services, the UN’s first “Inspector General’s” office, to conduct internal audits while monitoring, inspecting, evaluating and investigating all UN activities.

“Joe Connor’s impact on the United Nations over these past eight years has been marked, and will continue to be felt many years into the future,” Ms. Jiang said.