Members of Caritas Internationalis elected an official from the French charity Secours Catholique to be their secretary general.
They also re-elected Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa as president of the confederation of 165 Catholic charities.
Michel Roy is currently director of international advocacy for the French Catholic charity.
A 56-year-old father of two children, Roy was a student of economics and Oriental languages at Sorbonne University when he began volunteer work with Southeast Asian refugees for Secours Catholique in 1976.
He joined the Paris archdiocesan staff in 1981 and served as national director from 1993 to 1999.
Roy was elected to a four-year term after the Vatican Secretariat of State withheld its approval for the current secretary general, Lesley-Anne Knight, to stand for a second term.