David Beasley

David Muldrow Beasley (born February 26, 1957) is an American politician and the Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme.[1] A member of the Republican Party, Beasley also served one term as the 113th governor of South Carolina from 1995 until 1999.

David Beasley
Executive Director of the World Food Programme
Assumed office
April 4, 2017
Secretary GeneralAntónio Guterres
Preceded byErtharin Cousin
113th Governor of South Carolina
In office
January 11, 1995 – January 13, 1999
LieutenantBob Peeler
Preceded byCarroll Campbell
Succeeded byJim Hodges
Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives
from the 56th district
In office
January 9, 1979 – January 10, 1995
Preceded byGary Byrd
Succeeded byDenny Neilson
Personal details
David Muldrow Beasley

(1957-02-26) February 26, 1957 (age 64)
Darlington, South Carolina, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic (Before 1991)
Republican (1991–present)
Spouse(s)Mary Wood Payne
EducationClemson University
University of South Carolina (BA, JD)

Early political careerEdit

Elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives at age 20, Beasley transferred from Clemson University to the University of South Carolina where he received a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies in 1979 and a J.D. from the School of Law in 1983.[2] Beasley was a member of the South Carolina House from 1979 until 1995, serving as majority whip from 1985 to 1986 and the majority leader from 1987 to 1989. He served as the youngest Speaker pro tempore and Majority Leader in the nation.[3] It was during the 1991–92 legislative session that Beasley switched to the Republican Party.[citation needed] During the 1994 election for governor, both Beasley and his Democratic opponent Lieutenant Governor Nick Theodore faced tough primary opposition within their respective parties. Beasley defeated his toughest competitor, former congressman and state senator Arthur Ravenel Jr., in both the primary and run-off, and went on to win the general election by a narrow margin of 50%–48%.[citation needed]


South Carolina had a strong economy while Beasley was governor, with unemployment at a record-low 3.5% in 1998. [4] Beasley often touted his Christ-centered beliefs and conservatism in a state known for its strong ties to Christianity and conservative politics.[5]

Beasly strongly opposed gambling, which was legal in South Carolina until 2002.[6] At the time, many gas stations, convenience stores, and poker "casinos" were established across the state, and as Beasley supported legislation that would outlaw gambling, the video poker industry generated "Ban Beasley" billboards and radio ads.[7]

Until 2000, the Confederate flag flew atop the South Carolina State House. It had been raised over the Capitol dome in 1961 as an expression of opposition to racial integration. Beasley initially supported the flag's presence but announced on statewide television in 1996 that he had reversed his decision and believed the flag should be relocated to a monument elsewhere on the grounds. Beasley's position on the Confederate flag cost him many Republican votes in the next election. The flag was removed from the capitol dome in 2000 after Beasley left office. It was displayed on a pole in front of the statehouse until it was removed from the grounds in 2015 after the Emanuel Nine shooting.[8]

Beasley also faced allegations of having an affair with his former press secretary, Ginny Wolfe. Beasley refuted the claims, saying, "I can tell you right up front [my wife] Mary Wood and I love each other dearly. We both have been faithful to one another 100 percent."[citation needed]

In the 1998 South Carolina gubernatorial election, Beasley lost to Democrat Jim Hodges, 53% to 45%.[5]

Later careerEdit


After his term as governor, Beasley was a fellow at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. In 2003, he received the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award from U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy for his controversial request to the South Carolina legislature to remove the Confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse dome.[9]

In 2004, Beasley unsuccessfully ran for the United States Senate to replace retiring Democrat Fritz Hollings. He lost the Republican nomination to Congressman Jim DeMint of Greenville, South Carolina.[10] In April 2005, Beasley, along with his administration's former chief legal counsel, Henry Deneen, incorporated the Center for Global Strategies, Ltd (CGS). CGS focuses on developmental initiatives in the non-integrated world. Beasley is chairman of the board.[11]

In 2007, Beasley endorsed Mike Huckabee in the 2008 Republican presidential primaries.[12] In 2010, he endorsed Henry McMaster in the South Carolina Republican gubernatorial primaries.[citation needed].

World Food ProgrammeEdit

In February 2017, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley (also a former South Carolina governor) nominated Beasley to be the next Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP).[13] United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization José Graziano da Silva appointed Beasley to the post in March 2017, saying he brought "extensive experience with key governmental and business leaders and stakeholders around the world, with very strong resource mobilisation skills."[14] Guterres also said Beasley had been among 23 applications/nominations for the position.[15]

Beasley (right) with Argentinian president Alberto Fernandez at the United Nations.

In his capacity as Executive Director of WFP, Beasley serves at the level of Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and is a member of the organization's Senior Management Group (SMG) under Guterres.[16] Since 2019, he has been a member of the World Economic Forum High-Level Group on Humanitarian Investing, co-chaired by Børge Brende, Kristalina Georgieva and Peter Maurer.[17]

In December 2020, Beasley accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the WFP for its efforts to combat world hunger.[18]

Other activitiesEdit

Personal lifeEdit

Beasley is married to Mary Wood Beasley. Beasley currently resides in Rome, Italy, the global headquarters of WFP.[citation needed] On 19 March 2020, he tested positive for COVID-19.[22]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 1, 2017. Retrieved April 12, 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "A Nobel career path". February 10, 2021. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  3. ^ "South Carolina – David Muldrow Beasley – 1995–1999". www.sciway.net. Archived from the original on August 19, 2007. Retrieved August 19, 2007.
  4. ^ "South Carolina Unemployment Rate". FRED Economic Research. Archived from the original on July 13, 2020. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  5. ^ a b "S. Carolina Incumbent in Unexpected Tussle". Washington Post. Archived from the original on August 16, 2000. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  6. ^ "Is legal gambling possible in SC?". Myrtle Beach Online. Archived from the original on July 27, 2019. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  7. ^ "Louisiana Shuts Down Video Poker". July 1, 1999. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  8. ^ Kinnard, Meg. "20 years on, ex-SC gov Beasley's prayer on flag answered Confederate battle flag finds a new home among artifacts". Post and Courier. Archived from the original on July 25, 2020. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  9. ^ "David Beasley | JFK Library". www.jfklibrary.org. Archived from the original on July 29, 2020. Retrieved October 9, 2020.
  10. ^ "DeMint defeats Beasley in S. Carolina runoff". June 23, 2004. Archived from the original on March 29, 2017. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  11. ^ "Our Board". Center for Global Strategies. Archived from the original on May 17, 2017. Retrieved October 9, 2020.
  12. ^ Sheinin, Aaron (May 19, 2007). "Huckabee Picks Up Key Endorsement". The State. Archived from the original on April 22, 2015. Retrieved April 22, 2015.
  13. ^ "Nikki Haley nominates former South Carolina Gov. David Beasley for U.N. food post". The Post and Courier. February 28, 2017. Archived from the original on March 11, 2017. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  14. ^ "David Beasley of United States appointed as head of UN emergency food agency". UN News Centre. March 29, 2017. Archived from the original on May 3, 2017. Retrieved June 28, 2017.
  15. ^ Michelle Nichols (March 28, 2017), U.N. picks former U.S. state governor to run World Food Programme Archived November 17, 2018, at the Wayback Machine Reuters.
  16. ^ Senior Management Group Archived November 17, 2018, at the Wayback Machine United Nations.
  17. ^ World Economic Forum 2019 Annual Meeting launching a new Humanitarian Investing Initiative Archived February 12, 2019, at the Wayback Machine World Economic Forum, press release of January 18, 2019.
  18. ^ "A Nobel career path". February 10, 2021. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  19. ^ The SDG 2 Hub: Who we are Archived November 17, 2018, at the Wayback Machine SDG2 Advocacy Hub.
  20. ^ Movement Lead Group Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN)
  21. ^ a b Board of Directors Archived September 7, 2018, at the Wayback Machine Peace Research Endowment (PRE).
  22. ^ "Former SC Governor David Beasley tests positive for coronavirus". wltx.com. Archived from the original on October 12, 2020. Retrieved October 3, 2020.

External linksEdit

Party political offices
Preceded by
Carroll Campbell
Republican nominee for Governor of South Carolina
1994, 1998
Succeeded by
Mark Sanford
Preceded by
Terry Branstad
Chair of the Republican Governors Association
Succeeded by
Frank Keating
Political offices
Preceded by
Carroll Campbell
Governor of South Carolina
Succeeded by
Jim Hodges
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Ertharin Cousin
Executive Director of the World Food Programme