COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES…WRITES SOMINI SENGUPTAAUG: The United Nations HAS named Alison Smale, a veteran correspondent and editor at The New York Times, as its most senior official in charge of shaping the 193-member organization’s global public image.
As the next under secretary general for global communications, Ms. Smale, 62, will join the cabinet of the United Nations’ top leader, Secretary General António Guterres, and be among a small circle of influential women around him.
Mr. Guterres has been under enormous pressure to show that he can deliver gender equity in the leadership of the United Nations. Having defeated several women for the organization’s top job last year, he had promised to appoint women to senior posts.
Ms. Smale, a British citizen, is currently The Times’ bureau chief in Berlin. She had been the executive editor of The International Herald Tribune, based in Paris, for four years, before it was renamed The International New York Times in 2013. She was the first woman to head that newspaper.
After joining The Times in 1998, Ms. Smale became deputy foreign editor in 2002. Before that, she had reported extensively across Europe for The Associated Press, covering the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and war in the Balkans in the 1990s. She was posted in Moscow from 1983 to 1987 and is fluent in Russian.
Ms. Smale’s appointment to the United Nations is unusual partly because she comes directly out of journalism. Her recent predecessors had come mainly from government service, including Cristina Gallach of Spain, who was under secretary general for communications and public information until mid-April.