Officially In: Robert E. Whitehead to Lome

Map of TogoImage via WikipediaPresident Obama announced in October his intent to nominate Robert E. Whitehead to be Ambassador to the Togolese Republic.

The WH released the following brief bio:

Robert E. Whitehead, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, has served at the Department of State for 27 years.  From 2009 to 2011, Mr. Whitehead served as the Chargé d’Affaires in Khartoum, Sudan.  Other overseas assignments have included Deputy Chief of Mission in the Central African Republic, Zambia and Zimbabwe.  Additionally, Whitehead served briefly as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim in Rwanda in 1994 and as the first consul general in Juba, Southern Sudan in 2006.   His assignments in Washington have included Director of the Office of African Analysis in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Senior Inspector in the Office of the Inspector General, and Desk Officer in the Office of West African Affairs.  Before entering the Foreign Service, he was a Fulbright lecturer at the University of Zaire. 

Mr. Whitehead received a B.A. from Taylor University and an M.A. from Southern Illinois University.

If confirmed, Mr. Whitehead would succeed career diplomat, Patricia McMahon Hawkins who was appointed to the US Embassy in Lome in 2008.

Although we note that Mr. Whitehead had not served in the AIP posts (Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan), he was Consul General in Juba, Southern Sudan in 2006. That’s followed by another assignment in Khartoum, Sudan from 2009-2011.  Both posts are designated 25% danger post, and 25% hardship post. Cost of living in Juba and Khartoum is also high that both posts receives 25% COLA differential.  Prior to Sudan, he was in the Central African Republic and Zimbabwe, both 30% hardship posts. 

Related item:
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts | Oct 17, 2011

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Officially In: Sharon “Shari” Villarosa to Port Louis and The Seychelles

An enlargeable basic map of MauritiusImage via WikipediaIn October, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Sharon “Shari” Villarosa, to be Ambassador to the Republic of
Mauritius and the Republic of Seychelles.

The WH released the following brief bio:

Sharon “Shari” Villarosa, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, currently serves as Deputy Coordinator for Regional Affairs in the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the Department of State.   From 2005 to 2008, she served as the Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Rangoon.  Previously, Ms. Villarosa served as Director of Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore Affairs in the Department of State’s East Asia and Pacific Bureau; Economic Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta; and Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Dili.   Other overseas assignments have included: Songkhla, Thailand; Brasilia, Brazil; Quito, Ecuador; and Bogota, Colombia. 

Ms. Villarosa holds a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a J.D. from William and Mary School of Law.

If confirmed, Ms. Villarosa would succeed career diplomat, Mary Jo Wills who was appointed to the US Embassy Mauritius in 2009, confirmed by the Senate in December 2009, and  presented her credentials to President of the Republic on February 19, 2010. Traditionally, the assignment of career diplomats after tenure including that of the ambassador is for three years.

We note that Ms. Villarosa had not served in any of the AIP posts but did serve a three-year tour in Burma in 2005, which has a 30% hardship and 20 % cost of living differential. She also served as Charge in Timor-Liste, a 25% differential post for hardship and cost of living. Here is the OIG review during her tenure at US Embassy Rangoon.

Related item:
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts | Oct 13, 2011