Charm, toughness, sophistication, experience, vision. These talents overflow in the person of Mark Malloch Brown, and he'll need every ounce of them he can muster for his new assignment, one of the toughest in the world. As Kofi Annan's new chief of staff at a time of stressand opportunityfor the United Nations, Malloch Brown, 51, must walk the gauntlet between U.N.-bashing Washington, the other 190 U.N. member states and legions of U.N. staff members and organizations.
Malloch Brown began, as do so many British leaders, as a journalist, writing the inimitable clipped prose of the Economist. He later became a political consultant to leaders facing turmoil. He and I teamed up in crises ranging from hyperinflation in Bolivia to the "people power" Philippine revolution of Cory Aquino. As with his U.N. task today, he made a living out of promoting serious and visionary political programs amid upheaval. His trademark has been to combine a sharp reading of political forces and public opinion with the substance of public policy.
From 1999 until his move in January to Annan's side, Malloch Brown successfully directed U.N. development efforts as administrator of the United Nations Development Programme. There he greatly bolstered internal morale and performance, led the production of hard-hitting reports (for example, on Middle East democracy) and championed the Millennium Development Goals. All this is a warm-up for the next and most challenging task: bringing global consensus to a shared agenda on security and development.
Sachs, head of the U.N. Millennium Project, is the author of The Endof Poverty