WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced his intention to nominate prominent Democratic fundraiser Jane Hartley to serve as ambassador to the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland and major donor Alan Leventhal to serve as his envoy to Denmark.
The White House also announced Biden would nominate longtime diplomat and attorney Elizabeth Bagley to serve as ambassador to Brazil and career senior foreign service officer Alexander Laskaris to serve in Chad.
The Associated Press reported in July that Biden had settled on Hartley for the high-profile U.K. ambassadorship. She served as ambassador to France and Monaco during the Obama administration. She was a significant fundraiser for Biden’s 2020 presidential race and has been a big supporter of Democratic candidates over the years.
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 Center. She is also chairman of the board of trustees of Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind “Sesame Street.”
“Given the critical challenges we are facing at this time, the relationship with our allies is crucially important,” Hartley said in a statement. "I look forward to strengthening our special relationship with the UK and deepening the partnership with one of our most important allies.”
Leventhal is the chairman and CEO of Beacon Capital, one of the leading owners and managers of office properties in the U.S., and was among several Wall Street bundlers who helped 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. 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.
Bagley, an attorney, 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 U.S. ambassador to Portugal during the Clinton administration.
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 the Guinea, and as deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Burundi.
The nominees all require Senate confirmation before they can assume their posts.