Secretary General Ban Ki Moon appointed President Bill Clinton’s former National Security Adviser and Obama confidant Anthony Lake to be the next head of UNICEF. Josh Rogin reported a few weeks back that the Obama administration had nominated Anthony Lake for the spot. And since UNICEF chief is a job that typically goes to an American, it was all but assured that Lake would replace former Secretary of Agriculture Ann Venemen when her five-year term expires. 

Here is ban’s official pronouncement:

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Anthony Lake as the new Executive Director of UNICEF, succeeding Ann Veneman.

He brings with him a wealth of experience after a long and distinguished career with the United States Government. He will assume his responsibilities in the first week of May.

I thank Ms. Ann Veneman for her immense dedication, energy and determination to improve the lives of children around the world. She leaves behind an organization well-equipped for the enormous challenges ahead.

Thank you very much. I am ready for your questions.

A word of praise for Venemen: even though the Bush administration’s relationship with the UN was sometimes strained, Venemen had a great reputation around the UN–and around the world.  At only one term, though, she was the shortest serving UNICEF executive director. For his part, Anthony Lake is arguably the highest-profile American to serve as UNICEF executive director. He is also formerly the chairman of the board of directors of the United States Fund for UNICEF–(they of the “trick-or-treat for UNICEF” campaign.) 

UNICEF is arguably the best-loved UN agency around the world — who’s against children? — I imagine that having Lake as its new chief will help boost its profile here in Washington. 


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