19 January 2022

Joe Biden names Democratic fundraiser as ambassador to UK

19 January 2022

President Joe Biden announced his intention to nominate prominent Democratic fundraiser Jane Hartley to serve as ambassador to the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.

Major donor Alan Leventhal will serve as his envoy to Denmark.

The White House also announced Mr Biden would nominate long-time diplomat and attorney Elizabeth Bagley to serve as ambassador to Brazil and career senior foreign service officer Alexander Laskaris to serve in Chad.

Mr Biden had settled on Ms Hartley for the high-profile UK ambassadorship.

She served as ambassador to France and Monaco during the Obama administration.

She was a significant fundraiser for Mr Biden’s 2020 presidential race and has been a big supporter of Democratic candidates over the years.

Ms Hartley serves on the board of trustees of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and is a member of the board of overseers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre.

US and UK flags on The Mall (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Archive)

She is also chairman of the board of trustees of Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organisation behind Sesame Street.

Mr Leventhal is the chairman and chief executive of Beacon Capital, one of the leading owners and managers of office properties in the US and was among several Wall Street bundlers who helped Mr Biden raise money for his 2020 campaign.

Presidents have typically rewarded donors and key supporters with sought-after ambassadorships.

About 44% of Donald Trump’s ambassadorial appointments were political appointees, compared with 31% for Barack Obama and 32% for George W. Bush, according to the American Foreign Service Association.

Mr Biden hopes to keep political appointments to about 30% of ambassador picks, according to an administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk about internal discussions.

Ms Bagley, a lawyer, held diplomatic positions in the Clinton and Obama administrations, including stints as a senior adviser to Secretaries of State John Kerry, Hillary Clinton and Madeline Albright.

She served as US ambassador to Portugal during the Clinton administration.

Mr Laskaris is currently a senior adviser in the Bureau of African Affairs at the State Department.

He has also served as deputy to the commander at the United States Africa Command, ambassador to Guinea, and as deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Burundi.

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox