Secretary-General António Guterres today appointed Mark Lowcock, a national of the United Kingdom, as the United Nation’s highest official on humanitarian assistance and aid coordination, the UN Spokesperson’s office announced today.

As the head of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Mr. Lowcock will take on a dual role: Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and UN Emergency Relief Coordinator.

Mr. Lowcock will succeed Stephen O’Brien, who will remain in his current role until the end of August “to conclude a number of initiatives and reforms he has been leading at OCHA,” it was announced.

The Secretary-General commended Mr. O’Brien, who took on the role in 2015, for his “excellent work, dedication and commitment to the United Nations and global humanitarian action.”

With 30 years of experience leading and managing response to humanitarian crises, Mr. Lowcock has worked in Kenya, Malawi and Zimbabwe, among other locations.

He is currently the Permanent Secretary at the Department for International Development (DFID), which leads the UK’s work to end extreme poverty.