Tony Lake Picked as UNICEF Chief

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.