ROME — Cindy McCain, currently the US permanent representative to the UN Agencies in Rome (the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Programme), has been appointed executive director of the World Food Programme. She succeeds David Beasley, who has held the post for the past six years.

“McCain takes over as head of the World Food Programme at a moment when the world confronts the most serious food security crisis in modern history and this leadership role has never been more important,” said Arthur A. Pollok, ambassador and permanent representative of Poland. “We wish her well and can assure her she will have the full support of the executive board.”

Ms. McCain is the former chair of the board of trustees of the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University. She also was on the board of directors of Project C.U.R.E., CARE, Operation Smile, the Halo Trust and the advisory boards of Too Small To Fail and Warriors and Quiet Waters.

She received a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in special education from the University of Southern California. She is the wife of the late US Senator John McCain.

“We are confident that Ambassador McCain’s deep experience in a range of domains will help her and her team lead the fight against world hunger,” said USAID administrator Samantha Power. “She will spearhead a relationship between the United States and the WFP that has accomplished what many thought was impossible — from averting famine in Somalia in the previous decade to feeding millions during the COVID-19 pandemic — and we are thrilled to make even more progress together under her leadership.”

The WFP provided more than 158 million people with food, cash and vouchers in 2022, more than in any previous year, and received a record $14 billion in funding. In 2020, the World Food Programmewas awarded the Nobel Peace Prize