New York, NY (BBN)- Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Babatunde Osotimehin, a professor and former minister from Nigeria, as the new head of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Mr. Osotimehin, who is currently professor of medicine at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria, will succeed Thoraya Ahmed Obaid as the Fund’s Executive Director when her term ends on 31 December.

Mr. Ban expressed his gratitude to Ms. Obaid for her services to UNFPA and her commitment in championing the cause of women’s and young people’s health and empowerment.

“The Secretary-General is particularly appreciative of the exemplary leadership displayed by Ms. Obaid in the implementation of UNFPA’s mandate over the two terms she has led the Organization,” his spokesperson said in a statement on Friday.

Mr. Osotimehin, who is also the African spokesperson for the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, brings a wealth of experience to UNFPA, including extensive knowledge and understanding of the global and national framework and processes that are critical to the work of the agency, strong leadership and proven managerial skills.

He has previously served as Minister of Health of Nigeria and was also Director-General of the country’s National Agency for the Control of HIV and AIDS. He was also a Visiting Fellow at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies.

BBN/SI/AD-20Nov10-1:18 pm (BST)