Friday, May 29, 2009

Officially In: Charles Rivkin to Paris

Source: Published State/OIG Report

On May 27, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Charles H. Rivkin, to be Ambassador to France. Official bio below: Mr. Rivkin is a Member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC), a Member of the Pacific Council on International Policy and is active with many other organizations. Mr. Rivkin and his family have presented the "Rivkin Award" at the U.S. State Department since 1968, honoring constructive dissent in the American Foreign Service. Mr. Rivkin joined W!LDBRAIN, an award-winning entertainment company, as President and Chief Executive Officer in 2005. In 1988, Rivkin served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The Jim Henson Company. Previously, Rivkin was a Corporate Finance Analyst at Salomon Brothers Inc. In addition, Rivkin served as an at-large California delegate to the Democratic National Convention for Senator Kerry in 2004 and for President Obama in 2008.

Rivkin holds a B.A. in Political Science and International Relations from Yale University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

* * * on Charles H. Rivkin: “The head of the entertainment company W!LDBRAIN, he served as a delegate to the Democratic National Committee in support of Obama last summer. Moreover, he sent at least half-a-million towards Obama's campaign committee as a bundler and another $300,000 toward his inaugural committee. Since the 1994 election cycle, he has personally contributed more than $97,500 to Democrats, including $6,600 to Obama, and now he has been nominated to be the ambassador to France.”

Our ambassadors to Paris in the last 20 years have all been well-connected political appointees. Previous occupants to this position include the late, Pamela Harriman, and also Felix G. Rohatyn and Howard H. Leach. If confirmed, Charles H. Rivkin will succeed Craig Roberts Stapleton (a non-career appointee who is Bush's cousin by marriage and top campaign fund-raiser). He will reside at the official residence of the US Ambassador to France, the Hôtel de Pontalba, a Parisian mansion located at 41 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in the 8th arrondissement of Paris. The residence has been called “one of Paris’ outstanding mansions with its beautiful gardens and magnificently restored historic reception rooms.” See photo from exclusive Paris tour company, eventsofprestige. You can read about the residence here.

Mr. Rivkin does have a long Foreign Service connection. He is the son of the late US Ambassador to Luxembourg, Senegal and Gambia in the 1960s. AFSA's Rivkin Award for "Constructive Dissent" given to a midcareer Foreign Service officers is named after his father, William Rivkin, who died in Dakar in 1967. Charles Rivkin along with his siblings, Julia Wheeler, Laura Ledford, and Robert Rivkin, selects the winner for that annual dissent award.

Related Post: White House Rolls Out First Dozen Ambassadors

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