UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Former South Carolina Gov. David Beasley was appointed Wednesday to head the U.N. World Food Program, the largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide as it assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries every year.
Beasley is a supporter of President Donald Trump who was recommended for the job by U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley. The ambassador left her own job as South Carolina governor to take her U.N. post.
The appointment of Beasley was announced by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Jose Graziano da Silva, the director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organization. The executive board of the food agency, known as WFP, backed the selection.
Beasley will succeed Ertharin Cousin, an American lawyer and former U.S. ambassador, whose five-year term ends Tuesday.
Guterres and Graziano da Silva expressed deep appreciation to Cousin, saying over the past five years she led WFP "during an unprecedented time of multiple humanitarian crises, leveraging partnerships and innovative tools to reach those furthest behind."
Beasley, a Republican politician, was still in university when he was elected at age 21 to the South Carolina House of Representatives, where he served in 1979-1992. He was governor of South Carolina in 1995-1999. He is a partner in a law firm and is chairman of the Center for Global Strategies.
U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said that since leaving the governor's office, Beasley has traveled to over 75 countries and war-stricken regions "leading peace-building missions and development efforts through working with foreign leaders."
Anil Wadhwa, the president of WFP's executive board, said Beasley "has outstanding qualifications" that will greatly benefit the agency.
Cousin said she was impressed that in conversations before his appointment, Beasley underscored his commitment to raising resources for WFP at a time when the organization is facing four major famine threats and to working toward the U.N. goal of ending hunger.