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News Release

WFP Executive Director to Join World Economic Forum

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Adrian Monck, Managing Director, Head of Communications; +41 (0)22 869 1212; 

Geneva, Switzerland, 3 January 2012 – Josette Sheeran, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), will join the World Economic Forum as Vice-Chairman and Member of the Managing Board. In this role, she will work with world leaders from government and business to help the Forum forge ideas and discussion that will support policy-makers worldwide. She will take up the role on completion of her term at the WFP in April 2012. 

Josette Sheeran has held major public leadership positions for more than a decade. In addition to her work on food security and humanitarian leadership, she is consulted broadly by global leaders for her expertise in international economic and trade issues, governance reforms, international business best practices and change management. Her work has been recognized internationally, including receiving Brazil’s highest civilian recognition, and this year Forbes Magazine ranked her 30th on their annual 100 Most Powerful Women list. 

Sheeran has long been an active participant in the World Economic Forum, where she is a Member of the Forum’s Foundation Board, serves on the Global Issues Group and has chaired the Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Food Security. 

“Josette Sheeran has shown in her career, especially as Executive Director of the WFP, a true commitment to address major global issues in a visionary and pragmatic way. She has won the trust of global decision-makers across the spectrum of politics, business and civil society,” said Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum. “Her appointment underlines the commitment of the World Economic Forum to furthering multistakeholder dialogue.” 

“I have long admired the vision and impact of Klaus Schwab and the World Economic Forum in bringing together thought leaders, visionaries and global innovators and practitioners to find new ways of solving the most complex and pressing issues of our time,” said Sheeran. “I am honoured to join this institution at a critical junction in history when people are looking for global leadership that transcends nationality, sector and viewpoint.” 

Sheeran has led the World Food Programme since 2007, helping victims of conflict and natural disasters in over 70 countries. During her tenure at WFP, Sheeran oversaw the agency’s transformation from food aid to food assistance, whereby WFP buys 80% of its food in the developing world and uses new tools, including cell phones and vouchers, to deliver assistance. Under her leadership, the WFP has greatly increased its donor base to more than 100 nations, including the BRIC nations as major donors and the Gulf States, and brought the private sector to one of WFP’s top 10 donors. She has put in place new emergency protocols that have helped the institution improve its ability to save lives and livelihoods in disasters and emergencies, most recently in Haiti and Pakistan, and in 2011 scale up response to the historic drought in the Horn of Africa. 

In addition to her WFP leadership, Sheeran is the Chair of the UN High-Level Committee on Management. Under her tenure, she helped lead major reform efforts, such as the introduction of International Public Accounting Standards, the overhaul of the UN security system and a major initiative to share best practices on efficiency and effectiveness. She is also a member of the UN Development Group and the UN High-Level Task Force on the Global Food Crisis. 

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