WFP Executive Director Assumes Role At World Economic Forum

Published on 03 January 2012

WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran speaking during an event on hunger and nutrition at the 2011 annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

(Copyright: WFP/Rein Skullerud)

Josette Sheeran, Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), will assume a role as Vice Chairman of the World Economic Forum, the world’s leading platform for engaging corporate and government leaders in solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. 

ROME-- Sheeran, who will assume her new position in April at the conclusion of her current term as Executive Director,  has led the World Food Programme since 2007, helping victims of conflict and natural disasters in over 70 countries.  During her tenure, she oversaw the agency’s transformation from food aid to food assistance, where WFP buys 80 percent of its food in the developing world and uses new tools including mobile phones and vouchers to deliver assistance. 

"There are no words to describe the respect, admiration and love I have for WFP, its people and mission," said Sheeran. "It has been a deep honour to serve the world in this role and to help not only save lives but to transform the face of food aid, to empower lasting hunger solutions."

Sheeran has served on the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum and has also chaired the Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Food Security and is a member of the Forum’s Global Issues Group, composed of the heads of major multilateral organizations.

Multi-stakeholder dialogue

“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 multi-stakeholder dialogue.”

“This leadership role at the Forum will allow me to help forge new entrepreneurial approaches to the great global challenges of our time and to work with leaders in business, governments and civil society in seeking sustainable solutions," said Sheeran. "Klaus Schwab has built a vital platform to bring together the world to address the world’s most complex and interconnected global social challenges - from the financial and food crises to opportunities for sustainable growth.

Lives and livelihoods

Under her leadership, WFP has  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 ten 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 scaling up response to the historic drought in the Horn of Africa.

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 in 2011 Forbes Magazine ranked her 30 on their annual 100 Most Powerful Women list.

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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