After five years as executive director of the World Food Programme, David Beasley has announced he will step down in April when his term expires.
Beasley was appointed to lead the WFP in 2017 by former President Donald Trump. During his tenure, WFP funding nearly doubled, growing from $5.6 billion in 2016 to $10.6 billion this year, while U.S. contributions have nearly tripled, to $5.9 billion.
Due to his fundraising success and the support he gained globally for his work to end hunger, President Joe Biden gave in to bipartisan congressional pressure last March and asked Beasley to stay on for another year.
In a press release, Beasley said serving as WFP executive director has been the “greatest joy and deepest heartache” of his life, calling on the world to continue to work to end global hunger.
“Thanks to the generosity of governments and individuals, we have fed so many millions of people. But the reality is we have not been able to feed them all – and the tragedy of extreme hunger in a wealthy world persists,” Beasley said in a statement.
Axios reported, citing sources, that Biden is planning to name Cindy McCain as Beasley's replacement. McCain is currently the U.S. representative to WFP and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
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The process to select a successor has begun, and Beasley plans to work with the new executive director “to deliver a seamless transition,” adding the new leader will have Beasley’s “full support as they lead WFP forward.”
“I thank the women, men and especially the children who live in poverty and hunger: every day, they show an extraordinary strength, courage and generosity of spirit the whole world needs to learn. They are an example to us all,” said Beasley.
The executive director "is appointed jointly by the UN Secretary-General and the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations," according to WFP's website.
"Before coming to WFP in April 2017, Beasley spent a decade working with high-profile leaders and on-the-ground program managers in more than 100 countries, directing projects designed to foster peace, reconciliation and economic progress," Beasley's bio says.
He served as South Carolina's governor from 1995 to 1999 and was first elected to public office at the age of 21 as a member of the state's House of Representatives.
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