Benita Ferrero-Waldner, born in Salzburg, first worked in the private sector after studying law in Salzburg (Dr.iur.1970), but joined the Austrian Foreign Ministry after her divorce from her first husband in 1984 and served in Madrid, Dakar, (Senegal) and Paris. At the Foreign Ministry she was the first Deputy Chief of Protocol, from where the then UN-GS Boutros Boutros-Ghali made her the 1st female Chief of Protocol of the United Nations in New York in 1994. In May 1995, the then new leader of the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Schüssel brought Dr. Ferrero-Waldner back from New York to Vienna as his State Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation, the first time a woman had been appointed. In 2000, Dr. Ferrero-Waldner was appointed Foreign Minister of Austria in the government of BK Dr. Schüssel. In 2004, she was the candidate of the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) for the election of the Federal President, which she narrowly lost to her opponent, Dr. Heinz Fischer. In October 2004 she was appointed EU Commissioner for Foreign Affairs and European Neighbourhood Policy, (2004-Nov.2009); from Nov. 2009 until March 2010 she was Commissioner for Trade and European Neighbourhood Policy.in Brussels under EC President Jose-Manuel Barroso. Afterwards, she lived in Madrid with her second husband Dr. Francisco Ferrero Campos, was a member of several supervisory boards and president of the European foundation EU-LAC as well as the Spanish foundation Euro-America. She was a member of several boards and president of the European foundation EU-LAC and the Spanish foundation Euro-America, both dealing with the EU's relations with Latin America. In addition, she was active in a Spanish law firm, as well as President of the "UNVTF for Victims of Trafficking of People" of the United Nations (=voluntary trust fund of the UN for victims of human trafficking) in Vienna for several years and volunteered in various NGOs and foundations.
Today, Dr. Ferrero-Waldner is Vice-President of the Senate of Economy Europe, serves on a supervisory board and in many honorary functions. She lives in Baden/Vienna and Valencia.