Jose W. Fernandez to be Under Secretary of State/E (Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment)

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On March 17, 2021, The WH announced President Biden’s intent to nominate Jose W. Fernandez to be Under Secretary of State (Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment):

Today, President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate Jose W. Fernandez to serve in the following positions: Under Secretary of State (Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment), United States Alternate Governor of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, United States Alternate Governor to the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and United States Alternate Governor to the Inter-American Development Bank.

Jose W. Fernandez

Jose Fernandez is a partner at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, in New York.  A former Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs, his accomplishments in the private sector have been recognized in several legal and business publications. Fernandez is Director of the Partnership for Inner City Education in New York and WBGO-FM, a former Commissioner of the New York City Latin Media and Entertainment Commission, and co-founder and former chairman of the board of the Latino International Theater Festival of New York, among many civic activities.  He received a Bachelor’s Degree magna cum laude from Dartmouth College, where he later served as trustee, and earned a J.D. and the Parker School Certificate of International Law from Columbia University.  He speaks Spanish, Portuguese and French. 

According to history.state.gov, Congress first authorized an Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs on Aug 1, 1946, for a 2-year period as the third-ranking officer in the Department (P.L. 79-590; 60 Stat. 789). The position was not renewed, however, and between 1947 and 1958 the ranking officer in the Department handling foreign economic matters was either a Deputy Under Secretary or an Assistant Secretary of State. Changes were made to this position in the intervening years. On May 12, 1994, the title was changed to “Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs.” On December 8, 2011, the title was changed to “Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment.” See more here.
Only two career diplomats were appointed to this position since it was created: Alan Philip Larson who served from 1999–2005 and Thomas Clifton Mann who served from 1965–1966.  The last four appointees to this position were all political appointees:

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US Mission France: Ambassador Rivkin Departs Paris For State Dept’s Econ and Biz Bureau

— Domani Spero

Ambassador Rivkin permanently departed Paris on Tuesday, November 19, 2013 after more than four years as chief of mission. President Obama nominated Ambassador Rivkin to serve as Assistant Secretary of the State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs. He received the U.S. flag flown over the U.S. Embassy until September 11, 2013

Photo via US Embassy Paris

Photo via US Embassy Paris

The WH released the following brief bio on October 30, 2013.

Ambassador Charles H. Rivkin is the U.S. Ambassador to France and Monaco, a position he has held since 2009.  From 2005 to 2009, Ambassador Rivkin was the President and CEO of W!LDBRAIN, an award-winning film and television show production company.  From 1988 to 2003, he served in various roles for The Jim Henson Company, most recently as the President and CEO.  Previously, Ambassador Rivkin was an analyst in Corporate Finance at Salomon Brothers from 1984 to 1986.  Before his service as Ambassador, he served on the boards of various companies and organizations, including Save the Children from 1997 to 2003 and Chrysalis from 1996 to 2002.  From 1996 to 2009, he was a Member of the Young Presidents Organization and from 2007 to 2009 he was a Member of the Pacific Council on International Policy.  Ambassador Rivkin received a B.A. from Yale University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

If confirmed, Ambassador Rivkin will succeed Jose W. Fernandez who was appointed assistant secretary to EB from 2009-2013.  In late October, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP announced that Mr.  Fernandez had joined its firm as a partner in the New York office.  At Gibson Dunn, Mr. Fernandez will reportedly focus his practice on mergers and acquisitions and finance in emerging markets in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

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