Alison Smale, Berlin bureau chief of the New York Times, has joined the United Nations as Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications and chief of its Dept. of Public Information.  She succeeds Spain's Christina Gallach, who exited in April. 

The 62-year-old British journalist has helmed the NYT's Berlin office since 2013.

Alison SmaleAlison Smale

Earlier, Smale was executive editor of the International Herald Tribune in Paris, which was rebranded four years ago as the International New York Times. She was the first woman to head that paper.

Before joining the Times in 1998, Smale reported for United Press International and Associated Press in the Balkans and Moscow.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has promised to appoint more women to top-level positions.

The world body came under pressure last year for using a cartoon character, Wonder Woman, in its campaign to promote gender equality.