Ms. Ann M. Veneman assumed the leadership of the United Nations Children's Fund on May 1, 2005, becoming the fifth Executive Director to lead UNICEF. Prior to joining UNICEF, Veneman served as the 27th Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture from 2001 to 2005.
At UNICEF she directs a global agency of more than 10,000 staff and annual total resources of about $3 billion, funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of governments, businesses, foundations and individuals. She has traveled across the world, witnessing firsthand the work of UNICEF, attending meetings and conferences, and visiting heads of state, government and other partners.
Ms. Veneman’s vision at UNICEF includes instilling a “sense of urgency” about the Millennium Development Goals and their 2015 deadline, as well as ensuring that the agency’s policies and programs are oriented around achieving them.
At the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Veneman managed a department of 111,000 employees; a program level of $113 billion that would rank sixth-largest if it were a U.S. corporation; and one of the most diverse and challenging missions in government.
Ms. Veneman previously served in various positions at USDA and in state government. From 1991 to 1993, she was USDA’s Deputy Secretary, the Department’s second-highest position. She also served as Deputy Undersecretary of Agriculture for International Affairs and Commodity Programs from 1989 to 1991. Veneman joined the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service in 1986 and eventually served as Associate Administrator until 1989. From 1995 to 1999, she served as Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA).