Sheeran, former Washington Times editor, will lead U.N. food program
NEW YORK — U.N. SecretaryGeneral Kofi Annan on Nov. 6 nominated Josette Sheeran, a senior State Department official and former managing editor of The Washington Times, to be executive director of the World Food Program.
The five-year appointment was approved by the WFP executive board. Miss Sheeran is expected to take up her duties as head of the Rome-based agency, which administers nearly $3 billion in annual food aid, early next year.
At the State Department, where she has served since August 2005 as undersecretary of state for business, economic and agricul- tural affairs, Miss Sheeran is charged with promoting the interests of U.S. farmers and business owners in global policy discussions, according to her official biography.
Before that, she served as deputy in the office of U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick, where she negotiated agreements with African, Asian and Latin American countries.
From 1997 to 2000, Miss Sheeran was president and chief executive officer of Empower America, where she was a highprofile presence on the media, academic and fundraising circuits. She was an editor of The Washington Times from its founding in 1982 until she left as man- aging editor of The Times in 1997 to join Empower America.
Miss Sheeran, 52, was selected by Mr. Annan last year to sit on a panel advising the United Nations on how to more effectively deliver humanitarian relief and development assistance.
The report of the High-Level PanelonSystem-wideCoherence,a group that includes leaders of Pakistan,Mozambique,Norwayandsenior ministers of several other countries, was released Nov. 8.
Miss Sheeran was chosen for the WFP post from a short list, which was never formally announced but was said by Secretariat officials to have included WFP Asia director Tony Banbury, an American with ties to the Clinton White House; Swiss development minister Walter Fust; and Robert Fowler, a former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations.
But the appointment of Miss Sheeran, the Bush administration’s nominee, had been expected: Washington contributes about one-third of the WFP’s $2.9 billion budget and often applies pressure to ensure its nominees are successful. An American has managed the WFP for about the past 15 years.
The WFP is one of the United Nations’ most prominent agencies, with primary responsibility for feeding the victims of conflicts, natural disasters and long-building famines. Last year, the agency fed nearly 100 million people in 82 countries.