Former US Aid director takes top job at Unicef

Henrietta Holsman Fore has become executive director of the United Nations Children’s Fund

This picture taken on October 8, 2017 shows Afghan school girls looking on as they receive pens and bags from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) at a school in Lashkar Gah in Helmand province. / AFP PHOTO / NOOR MOHAMMAD

Henrietta Holsman Fore has become executive director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef). UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres announced today that she will succeed Anthony Lake when his term ends at the end of the year.

Ms Fore has almost 40 years of public sector service which saw her become the first woman to serve as the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the director of United States Foreign Assistance in the State Department.

She currently works as chairman of the board and CEO at Holsman International, a manufacturing and investment company. She has also worked many non-profit and for-profit entities, focusing on development and working with children of the world.

“Henrietta Fore will bring a wealth of experience to UNICEF’s work for children,” said Mr Lake. “I know the organisation will support her as it has worked with me. Her success will be UNICEF’s success — and thus a success for children.”

UNICEF’s executive director is appointed by the secretary general in consultation with the executive board of the organisation. Though there are no concrete rules for the job, it has gone to the US candidate since the organisation’s first executive director, Maurice Pate, an American businessman who took on the job in 1947.

There have been calls for the process behind the appointment of the director to be more transparent. Mr Guterres has pledged that the selection of the UNICEF executive director would follow proper procedures and not be conducted with backroom deals.

“It needs to be an open process — and [Guterres] has promised us that they will get all the applications and have a process according to the standard U.N. rules,” May-Elin Stener, Norway’s deputy permanent-representative told Devex. Norway is serving as a vice president on UNICEF’s board this year, and will take the helm as president in January.

Mr Guterres has final say in selecting the UNICEF executive director, according to the UN charter.