From Today's Washington Post:
Annan Names New Top Aide, Starting Staff Shuffle
By Colum Lynch
UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 3 -- U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan on Monday appointed a British development official as his chief of staff, part of a wider personnel shuffle aimed at helping the organization confront allegations of corruption and focus greater attention on fighting poverty.
Annan said that Mark Malloch Brown, the administrator of the U.N. Development Program, would help him put economic development at the center of the United Nations' work during Annan's final two years in office. He said Malloch Brown would also help him make the organization more efficient and address new security threats, including terrorism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction.
"I believe 2005 offers us a critical opportunity to push through a new round of reforms and revitalize the U.N. system and ensure it is better equipped to deal with the scale and complexity of 21st century challenges," Annan said at a news conference.
The development program run by Malloch Brown is the largest U.N. agency, promoting economic development in the world's poorest countries. With his promotion to chief of staff, Malloch Brown replaces Iqbal Riza, a Pakistani who announced his retirement over the Christmas holidays.
Unlike Riza, who rarely spoke publicly, Malloch Brown said that he would have a visible public profile. He said that he would press the United Nations to respond more quickly and vigorously to criticism of the organization.
Annan said that he is planning other personnel changes. U.N. officials say that several senior positions will be open in the coming months, including the top job at the U.N. International Children's Emergency Fund, or UNICEF, the organization's chief advocate for children's health. Annan said he also plans to appoint a new Middle East envoy to replace Terje Roed-Larsen of Norway.
Monday's appointment comes as the organization faces allegations that senior U.N. officials, and Annan's son, may have improperly profited from the Iraq oil-for-food program administered by the United Nations. Annan's son, Kojo, has denied any wrongdoing.
Paul A. Volcker, the former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank who is heading an investigation into the program, is expected to issue a report this month. Even the United Nations' closest allies have expressed frustration at what they consider the body's failure to adequately respond to the charges.
Annan has also faced criticism from U.N. staff members who feel that he has not held senior officials accountable for wrongdoing.
"There's no hiding the fact that it's a difficult moment," Malloch Brown said. "It's been a subject of wide commentary that staff morale is not at its highest at this time, and we face also in the weeks ahead recommendations that may come from Mr. Volcker. So it's an opportunity for great change."