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Longtime Biden Aide Catherine Russell Named UNICEF Chief

FILE - Catherine Russell, then ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues at the U.S. State Department, speaks during a panel discussion at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, Jan. 28, 2015.

A longtime aide to U.S. President Joe Biden has been named executive director of UNICEF.

Catherine Russell, who is currently the director of the White House Presidential Personnel Office and assistant to the president, will be the eighth American to head the U.N. organization.

“Our loss is UNICEF’s gain, because children around the world will lead richer, safer, and healthier lives as a direct result of Cathy’s leadership in this new role,” Biden said in a statement.

Russell will replace Henrietta Fore, who is stepping down because of a family health issue.

"Ms. Russell brings to the role decades of experience in developing innovative policies that empower underserved communities around the world," U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken extended his congratulations, noting in a statement, “Her lifelong passion for public service as well as her strong and compassionate leadership will improve the well-being of children through this crucial position.”

During the administration of Barack Obama, Russell was the ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues.

Some information in this report comes from Reuters.