Indian Asst Secy Gen quit for ‘family reasons’: UN spokesperson

Arul Louis-

 

An Indian Assistant Secretary-General dealing with the UN pension fund investments resigned for “personal and family reasons,” a spokesperson said on Monday.

Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for Secretary General Antonio Guterres, giving the reason for Sudhir Rajkumar’s sudden resignation, said Guterres has accepted his resignation during “a unique and difficult time in the financial markets”.

Rajkumar also held the title of Representative of the Secretary-General for the Investment of the Assets of the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund.

The resignation is to be effective Tuesday, Dujarric said

Asked about the sudden announcement of the resignation that was made on a Sunday, Dujarric said: “It’s clearly a volatile time for the global markets and the Secretary-General fully recognizes that this is a unique and difficult time in the financial markets as we all know and he thought it necessary to act quickly and decisively to appoint an interim representative”.

The world financial markets have fallen precipitously following the Covid-19 outbreak, with the Dow Jones index, for example, falling 25 percent from its high in February.

Pedro Guazo, the director of the Finance Division in the Office of Programme Planning, Finance and Budget, was given the interim appointment.

Dujarric said that Guazo will start “first thing Wednesday morning at the end of Mr Rajkumar’s tenure”.

He said that Guterres has confidence in Guazo’s ability to run the fund immediately and has asked him to review the fund’s assets and brief him on the position of the fund within the next week.

“I will leave it at that for now,” he said.

In the unusual announcement on a Sunday, Dujarric said: “The Secretary General has accepted the resignation and thanks Mr Rajkumar for his service in managing the assets of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund. The Secretary-General wishes Mr Rajkumar the very best in his future endeavors.”

Rajkumar was appointed to the position in 2017.

He had earlier been the head of the global pension advisory program at the World Bank Treasury, providing advisory services to pension funds for several countries, according to the UN.

He had also been a member on the External Advisory Committee on Investments of the Food and Agriculture Organization, the Investment Committee of the United Nations Office for Project Services, and as Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of the International Centre for Pension Management.

Before joining the World Bank in East Africa he worked in a managerial capacity with Shriram Group in India.

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