Former Executive Secretary

Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, a national of Pakistan, served as the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and as the tenth Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific from 2014 to 2018. She also served as the United Nations Sherpa for the G20.

Formerly the Secretary-General's Senior Advisor on Economics and Finance, and Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development at the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, she led the UN-wide coordination of the post-2015 development agenda and related policy and normative work, including supporting work on the Sustainable Financing Strategy.

Ms. Akhtar served as the Governor of the Central Bank of Pakistan, and as Vice President of the Middle East and North Africa Region of the World Bank. In her capacity as Governor, Dr. Akhtar was also the Chairperson of the Central Bank Board and its affiliates, as well as a Governor of the IMF. During her term of office, she was recognized for the success of the Bank and won two consecutive awards as Asia's Best Central Bank Governor from Emerging Markets and from the Banker’s Trust. In 2008, The Wall Street Journal Asia also recognized her as one of the top ten professional women of Asia.

Dr. Akhtar has had a long-standing career with the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs). She served in the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for almost 15 years, rising through the ranks from Senior Economist, to attaining the highest professional positions, including as Special Senior Advisor to the President of ADB, and as the Bank’s Director-General of the South-East Asia region. During the Asian financial crisis, she also served as the ADB Coordinator to the APEC Finance Ministers, providing analytical support in a number of economic and social areas for crisis prevention and mitigation, while also leading engagement with the Bank for International Settlement and other standard-setting bodies.

She has also served as a member of the Pakistan Economic Advisory Committee and of the Governing Council of the Pakistan Statistics Bureau. In addition, Ms. Akhtar has advised development agencies on the operationalization of Pakistan’s New Economic Growth Framework, and has also worked on PPP policy frameworks and governance issues. Dr. Akhtar was a post-doctoral degree US Fulbright Fellow at Harvard University, holds a PhD in Economics from Scotland's Paisley College of Technology, as well as a Master’s in Development Economics from the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom, and an MSc in Economics from Quaid-e-Azam University, in Islamabad.