Louise Fréchette

Louise Fréchette

Louise Fréchette.JPG
Louise Fréchette in May 2015
1st United Nations Deputy Secretary-General
In office
1 April 1997 – 1 April 2006
Secretary-General Kofi Annan
Preceded by Office established
Succeeded by Mark Malloch-Brown
Canadian Ambassador
to the United Nations
In office
January 1992 – December 1994
Preceded by Yves Fortier
Succeeded by Robert Fowler
Personal details
Born (1946-07-16) July 16, 1946 (age 74)
Nationality Canadian
Alma mater Université de Montréal
College of Europe

Louise Fréchette, OC (born July 16, 1946) is a Canadian diplomat and public servant who served for eight years as United Nations Deputy Secretary-General. She also served a three-year term at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, an international relations and policy think-tank in Waterloo, Ontario, working on a major research project on nuclear energy and the world's security.

Early life and education

Born in Montreal, Fréchette graduated with a degree in history from the Université de Montréal in 1970 and from the College of Europe (Bruges) with a postgraduate Certificate of Advanced European Studies (equivalent to a master's degree) in 1978.


Diplomatic career

Fréchette began her career in 1971 when she joined Canada's Department of External Affairs. She was posted to the Canadian embassy in Athens before joining Canada's UN delegation in Geneva in 1978.

In 1985, at the age of 39, Fréchette was named Canada's ambassador to Argentina. In 1989, she was sent on a secret mission to Cuba to lobby Fidel Castro to support the Gulf War. While unsuccessful, she impressed Ottawa with her efforts and was named Canada's ambassador to the United Nations in 1992.

In 1995, Fréchette left the foreign service to become assistant deputy minister of finance in Ottawa. She was later promoted to deputy minister of national defense, the first woman to hold that position.

Deputy Secretary General of the UN

In 1997, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan announced a series of reforms at the world body, including the creation of the position of deputy secretary-general to handle many of the administrative responsibilities which had previously been the responsibility of the secretary-general. Fréchette was offered the position and accepted and has been responsible for overseeing numerous reforms at the UN. While at the United Nations, Fréchette – working with her U.S. counterpart Madeleine K. Albright, among others – was pivotal in devising a peacekeeping operation for Haiti with the return from exile of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 1994.[1]

In 2005, after being criticized by former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker for failed management of the Iraq Oil-for-Food Program, Fréchette announced her resignation.

Later career

Fréchette is a Member of the Global Leadership Foundation and is a member of the International Advisory Board at the Institute for the Study of International Development (ISID) at McGill University. She was a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Commission of Eminent Persons on nuclear energy challenges which issued its report in April 2008.[2]

Other activities

Corporate boards

  • Essilor, Independent Member of the Board of Directors[3]
  • Shell Canada, Independent Member of the Board of Directors (2006-2007)

Non-profit organizations


In 1998, Fréchette was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.


External links

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Yves Fortier
Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations
Succeeded by
Robert Fowler
Positions in intergovernmental organisations
New office Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations
Succeeded by
United Kingdom Mark Malloch Brown