Senior Management Group
Shamshad Akhtar, Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
On 10 December 2013, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the appointment of Shamshad Akhtar of Pakistan as the Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
Ms. Akhtar replaces Noeleen Heyzer of Singapore to whom the Secretary-General expressed his gratitude for her outstanding dedication and commitment to ESCAP and the Asia Pacific region at large. Ms. Heyzer will continue to serve as Special Adviser of the Secretary General for Timor-Leste in further strengthening the ongoing partnership between the Government of Timor-Leste and the United Nations to support the continuing efforts of Timor-Leste towards peacebuilding, State-building and inclusive and sustainable development.
Ms. Akhtar, who since 2012 has served as the Secretary-General’s Senior Adviser on Economic Development and Finance and Assistant Secretary-General, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, brings to the position over 30 years of broad experience as a seasoned economist with an impressive track record of policymaking and implementation in the economic, development and finance fields, both at the country and regional level. Ms. Akhtar also serves as the United Nations Sherpa for the Group of 20 (G20).
Ms. Akhtar brings with her broad Asia experience, having advised and structured operations across a number of Asian economies and been involved in a range of regional cooperation forums, including Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). She was rated as one of the top 10 Asian professional women and won international awards for her exemplary role as Governor of the Central Bank in Pakistan.
She previously served as Governor of the Central Bank of Pakistan (2006-2009), holding the rank of Federal Minister. In the multinational arena, Ms. Akhtar served at the World Bank as Vice-President for the Middle East and North Africa (2009-2011) and the Asian Development Bank as Special Senior Adviser to the President (2009), Director and Deputy Director General, South East Asia (2002-2005), as well as Director, Governance, Finance and Trade Division, concurrently heading the secretariat of APEC (1998-2002).
Born in 1954, Ms. Akhtar holds a Postdoctoral Fellow and United States Fulbright Scholarship at the Department of Economics, Harvard University (1986-1987); PhD in economics, scholarship and degree from the United Kingdom Government Council of National Academic Awards (1978-1980); and a PhD, University of Paisley. She further holds a Master of Arts in development economics, University of Sussex (1977); Master of Science in economics, University of Islamabad (1975); and a Bachelor of Arts in economics, University of the Punjab (1972-1974).