Sunday, August 9, 2009

Officially In: Barry White to Oslo

On August 7, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Barry B. White to be Ambassador to Norway. Official bio released by the WH below:

Barry White has served for over 13 years as Chairman and Managing Partner (CEO) of Foley, Hoag LLP, where he is a senior partner in the firm’s business, corporate, international and government strategies practice areas. He has practiced law at Foley, Hoag for 40 years. Mr. White also served as Chair of Lex Mundi, the world’s largest international association of independent law firms, and co-founded the Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation, to provide pro bono legal advice to social entrepreneurs around the world.

In the community, he serves as Secretary, General Counsel and Member of the Executive Committee of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and as a Director of the Massachusetts Alliance for International Business. Mr. White is active with many organizations and boards, including the American Bar Association, as a member of the Business and International Sections; Edgewater Technology; the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City; the Boston Municipal Research Bureau; the Northeastern University School of Social Science, Public Policy and Urban Affairs; the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health; the Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine; and several others. Mr. White was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Public Health Service and served from 1967 to 1969 in the legislative liaison office in the Office of the Surgeon General at the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

Mr. White holds an A.B. from Harvard College, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, magna cum laude, where he was an Editor of the Harvard Law Review.

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Mr. White is one of the three big bundlers and donors announced by the WH recently to fill diplomatic posts in Spain, Norway and the European Union. According “the three new ambassadors bundled more than $1 million combined toward Obama's election efforts. Overall, they -- along with their immediate family members -- have contributed nearly $2 million to federal candidates since 1989.” Mr. White is reported to have bundled between 100K-200K for the campaign.

If confirmed. Mr. White would replace Bush pioneer, Benson Whitney who was appointed US Ambassador to Norway in 2006 during Bush’s second term. Just so you won’t think that the GOP has cornered this one, you should know that the last eleven ambassadors appointed to Norway were all political appointees. We have to go back all the way to 1973 to find a career diplomat assigned to this position (Thomas R. Byrne, 1973-1976). That’s right –36 years ago! All I can say is Oslo must be quite a place.

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