Louise Fréchette was the first Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations. A national of Canada, she assumed her duties on 2 March 1998, after having been appointed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan. She remained at her post until 31 March 2006.
The post of Deputy Secretary-General was established by the General Assembly at the end of 1997 as part of the reform of the United Nations, to help manage Secretariat operations and to ensure coherence of activities and programmes. The purpose was also to elevate the Organization's profile and leadership in the economic and social spheres. As Deputy Secretary-General, Ms. Fréchette assisted the Secretary-General in the full range of his responsibilities and also represented the United Nations at conferences and official functions. She chaired the Steering Committee on Reform and Management Policy and the Advisory Board of the United Nations Fund for International Partnerships (UNFIP), which handles relations with the foundation set up by Ted Turner in support of the United Nations.
Before joining the United Nations, Ms. Fréchette was the Deputy Minister of National Defence of Canada from 1995 to 1998. Prior to that, she was Associate Deputy Minister in her country's Department of Finance. She served as Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations from 1992 to 1995.
Ms. Fréchette began her career in 1971 in Canada's Department of External Affairs. She was part of her country's delegation to the General Assembly in 1972, and then served as Second Secretary at the Canadian Embassy in Athens until 1975. From 1975 to 1977, Ms. Fréchette worked in the European Affairs Division in Canada's Department of External Affairs. Returning to Europe, she served as First Secretary at the Canadian Mission to the United Nations in Geneva from 1978 to 1982. During that period, she participated in a session of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Madrid from November 1980 to July 1981.
After serving as Deputy Director of the Trade Policy Division in the Department of External Affairs from 1982 to 1983, Ms. Fréchette became Director of the European Summit Division from 1983 to 1985. She received her first ambassadorship in 1985, serving as Canada's ambassador to Argentina with concurrent accreditation to Uruguay and Paraguay.
Ms. Fréchette was named Assistant Deputy Minister for Latin America and the Caribbean in the Department of External Affairs and international trade in October 1988. In that capacity, she directed a review of Canada's relations with the region, which led to Canada's entry into the Organization of American States (OAS). In January 1991 she became Assistant Deputy Minister for Economic Policy and Trade Competitiveness.
Ms. Fréchette received a Bachelor of Arts degree from College Basile Moreau. She earned a degree in history from the University of Montreal in 1970 and a post-graduate diploma in economic studies at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium in 1978. She has received honorary doctorate degrees from Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Kyung Hee University in Seoul, University of Ottawa, University of Toronto, and Laval University, Québec. In 1998, she was appointed Officer of the Order of Canada.
Born in Montreal on 16 July 1946, Ms. Fréchette is single. She speaks French, English and Spanish.