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UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ An American who formerly headed the U.N. World Food Program was named chief financial officer for the world organization Tuesday.

Catherine Bertini is the second woman to serve as U.N. undersecretary-general for management. She will succeed Joseph Connor, an American who has overseen major reforms of the world body during his eight years in the job.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Bertini ``instituted major reform programs and did a great job'' during her 10 years at the Rome-based food relief agency, and also had ``a wealth of experience'' in federal and state government and the private sector.

When Annan became secretary-general in 1997, he launched a major reform program to streamline the U.N.'s bloated bureaucracy, under strong pressure from the United States which refused to pay its dues until key changes were made.

Annan paid tribute to Connor, the former chairman of the Price Waterhouse accounting firm who is retiring on Dec. 31, for spearheading the reforms.

Annan said she will be focusing on communication and information technologies, strengthening the personnel area, intensifying efforts to attain gender balance, improving coordination between U.N. bodies, and renovating the U.N. headquarters building.