UN’s Joakim Reiter to replace retiring Matthew Kirk from end of July.

Vodafone on Monday hired a senior figure at the United Nations to be its next external affairs director.

Joakim Reiter was until recently a UN assistant secretary-general, and the deputy secretary-general of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). He has also held various roles within the Swedish government, including serving as its ambassador to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

He will report to Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao.

"Joakim has extensive experience of multilateral trade negotiation and diplomatic and political engagement at the highest levels. We are delighted to welcome him to Vodafone," said Colao, in a statement.

Reiter replaces Matthew Kirk, who has announced his intention to retire. Kirk joined Vodafone in 2006 after more than 20 years with the U.K.’s diplomatic service, including serving as ambassador to Finland.

"Matthew is a greatly valued and trusted colleague who has made an enormous contribution to the group. He will stand down from the group executive committee with our professional gratitude and personal friendship," Colao said.

Reiter will join Vodafone in April, taking on a transitional role as director-designate. Kirk will step down from the group executive committee on 31 July, and will serve in an advisory role.