Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura has become FIFA’s first female secretary general as she was appointed to succeed former secretary general Jerome Valcke, who was banned from soccer-related activity for 12 years.
The 54-year-old Senegalese spent 21 years working for the United Nations and will start at soccer’s governing body in June.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino said: “It is essential FIFA incorporates fresh perspectives as we continue to restore and rebuild our organization.
“She has a proven ability to build and lead teams, and improve the way organizations perform. Importantly for FIFA, she also understands that transparency and accountability are at the heart of any well-run and responsible organization.”
Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura’s appointment, announced at FIFA’s congress in Mexico City, completes a new-look to an organization which has been dogged by corruption allegations under Jerome Valcke and previous president Sepp Blatter.
Sepp Blatter, who had led FIFA since 1998, stood down in 2015 and was later suspended from soccer for six years for breaching ethics guidelines.
Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura, who will undergo an eligibility check before her role is ratified, currently works for the UN in Nigeria, and speaks four languages.
She started her UN career as a senior logistics officer with the World Food Program in Rome in 1995 and has since served as country representative or director in six African countries, including Nigeria.
At her appointment, Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura said: “Today is a wonderful day for me, and I am honored to take on this role.
“This role is a perfect fit for my skills and experience – strategic, high-impact team building in international settings – which I will use to help grow the game of football all over the world.
“I also look forward to bringing my experience in governance and compliance to bear on the important reform work that is already underway at FIFA.
“FIFA is taking a fresh approach to its work – and I am eager to play a role in making that approach as effective and lasting as possible.”