Louise Fréchette

International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament Global Leadership Foundation Order of Canada
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-GeneralKofi Annan
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byMark Malloch-Brown
Canadian Ambassador
to the United Nations
In office
January 1992 – December 1994
Preceded byYves Fortier
Succeeded byRobert Fowler
Personal details
Born (1946-07-16) July 16, 1946 (age 74)
Alma materUniversité 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

Non-profit organizations


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