Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Non-Diplomat Sent to Paris

A reader's comment mentioned the new Ambassador to France, appointed by Barack Obama a few days ago. This is from Wikipedia:

Charles Rivkin has been named as President Obama’s candidate to serve as the United States Ambassador to France. He was the president and chief executive officer of W!LDBRAIN, an entertainment and animation production company whose television series include Yo Gabba Gabba! and Higglytown Heroes. Rivkin is an executive producer of Yo Gabba Gabba!, which airs on Nickelodeon and Noggin cable networks.

Prior to joining W!LDBRAIN in September 2005, Rivkin had worked for The Jim Henson Company for 15 years. He joined the company in 1988 as director of strategic planning and in 1995 was named president and chief operating officer. Rivkin served as the company's CEO from 2000 to 2003—the first chief executive who was not a member of the Henson family.

Rivkin was also the California Finance Co-chair for Barack Obama's campaign and is in line to be chosen as U.S. Ambassador to France.

His father, a lawyer, was Ambassador to Luxembourg under President Kennedy and Ambassador to Senegal and Gambia under President Johnson.

He received a B.A. from Yale University and an M.B.A. from Harvard University.

Some additional info from Diplopundit:

Charles H. Rivkin: “The head of the entertainment company W!LDBRAIN, he served as a delegate to the Democratic National Committee in support of Obama last summer. Moreover, he sent at least half-a-million towards Obama's campaign committee as a bundler and another $300,000 toward his inaugural committee. Since the 1994 election cycle, he has personally contributed more than $97,500 to Democrats, including $6,600 to Obama, and now he has been nominated to be the ambassador to France.”

Our ambassadors to Paris in the last 20 years have all been well-connected political appointees. Previous occupants to this position include the late, Pamela Harriman, and also Felix G. Rohatyn and Howard H. Leach. If confirmed, Charles H. Rivkin will succeed Craig Roberts Stapleton (a non-career appointee who is Bush's cousin by marriage and top campaign fund-raiser). He will reside at the official residence of the US Ambassador to France, the Hôtel de Pontalba, a Parisian mansion located at 41 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in the 8th arrondissement of Paris. The residence has been called “one of Paris’ outstanding mansions with its beautiful gardens and magnificently restored historic reception rooms.” (...)

Mr. Rivkin does have a long Foreign Service connection. He is the son of the late US Ambassador to Luxembourg, Senegal and Gambia in the 1960s. AFSA's Rivkin Award for "Constructive Dissent" given to a midcareer Foreign Service officers is named after his father, William Rivkin, who died in Dakar in 1967. Charles Rivkin along with his siblings, Julia Wheeler, Laura Ledford, and Robert Rivkin, selects the winner for that annual dissent award.

Note: Many of the comments I saw at American MSM websites were negative over the choice, denouncing Obama's money-based choices for ambassadorship (Rivkin was one of three new appointees, all fund-raisers for Obama). If that's any consolation...

The photo (the only one I could find) is from 20 Minutes.

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