Bertini Appointment As UN's Top Management Official Welcomed


Secretary-General Kofi Annan's appointment of Catherine Bertini, the former head of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), as the UN's top management official, effective 1 January, received general acclaim. The Secretary General made the announcement personally at a brief press meeting. "She brings a wealth of experience that is going to be needed in this building," he said. 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 U.S., and in the private sector.

In her remarks to the press, Ms. Bertini, a U.S. national, pledged her full efforts to help 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.

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 and human resources management.

Those who followed her work as Head of the World Food Programme in Rome felt that she will inject a much-needed human touch to the management approach, particularly when dealing with reform proposals and budget cuts. It is hoped that she will not be obsessed with accounting figures or old boardroom cutthroat tactics, but will display the compassionate leadership she demonstrated while in Rome.