The World Food Program is set to have a new executive director for the next five years. Its current head, Josette Sheeran, has recently announced she is heading to another organization upon completion of her term in April. Chances are, the new head would also be a U.S. citizen like Sheeran.
Sheeran announced Jan. 3 she would be assuming a vice chairman position at the World Economic Forum — best known for its annual gathering of leading corporate leaders — when her WFP term expires in April. She was initially said to be interested in another five-year term at WFP, as noted in November 2011 by Foreign Policy, among other news agencies.
The WFP executive director is appointed by the U.N. secretary-general and the director-general of the Food and Agricultural Organization in consultation with WFP’s executive board. Nominees for the position are solicited from WFP member states. Sheeran was the U.S. nominee in 2007.
There is a strong possibility Sheeran’s replacement would be from the United States, which is WFP’s top donor. And it would most likely be Etharin Cousin, the current U.S. ambassador to U.N. agencies in Rome. There were reports as early as November 2011 that the Obama administration plans to nominate Cousin to the WFP position.
The executive director position is open to nationals of all WFP member states but it has been held by a U.S. citizen since 1992. Prior to that, citizens of Australia, Canada, El Salvador and the Netherlands served in the position. To date, there are no other names being floated around as potential candidates.
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