U.N. picks former U.S. state governor to run World Food Programme

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - United Nations chief Antonio Guterres has appointed former South Carolina Governor David Beasley to run the Rome-based World Food Programme (WFP), at a time when U.S. President Donald Trump has proposed slashing funding for the world body and its agencies.

Beasley will replace another American, Ertharin Cousin, who has been the WFP executive director since 2012. Washington was the top contributor to WFP in 2016 with $2 billion, a third of the agency's budget.

Trump has proposed an unspecified cut in funding for the United Nations and its agencies. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, like Beasley, is also a former governor of South Carolina.

"Mr. Beasley has a wealth of experience that would greatly benefit WFP, the United Nations and the international community at large," Guterres wrote in a letter, seen by Reuters, notifying the WFP executive board of the appointment.

Guterres said Beasley, who served as South Carolina governor from 1995 to 1999, was among 23 applications/nominations for the job. The WFP executive board noted his appointment in a letter to Guterres on Tuesday.

(This version of the story was refiled to correct spelling of first name of current WFP chief in 2nd paragraph to "Ertharin" instead of "Etharin")

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by David Gregorio)

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