Ambassador John B. Emerson, Vice Chairman at Capital Group International and former U.S. Ambassador to Germany, was elected Chairman of the American Council on Germany (ACG) on January 17, 2018. He is the ACG’s sixth Chairman since its founding in 1952, following in the footsteps of John J. McCloy, Senator Charles McC. Mathias, Jr., General John Galvin, Garrick Utley, and Ambassador Robert M. Kimmitt.
Ambassador Emerson’s connection with the ACG extends back to 30 years ago: In 1988, he traveled to Germany on an ACG Political Exchange Fellowship, carried out in collaboration with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. He succeeds Ambassador Kimmitt, Senior International Counsel at WilmerHale LLP and also a former U.S. Ambassador to Germany, who had served as ACG Chairman since 2011.
“The German-American relationship is indispensable. It is a great success story – in economic, political, and security terms,” Ambassador Emerson said. “The American Council on Germany plays a significant role in bringing together Germans and Americans to address the wide array of common challenges we face. I am delighted to assume this role, and look forward to building on the ACG’s 65-year history of strengthening the transatlantic relationship.”
Outgoing ACG Chairman Ambassador Robert M. Kimmitt, who has been named as Chairman Emeritus, and ACG President Dr. Steven E. Sokol both extended the incoming Chairman a warm welcome.
“I am delighted that John Emerson will assume the Chairmanship of the ACG at this critical time,” outgoing Chairman Kimmitt said. “Today is not the easiest time to be a transatlanticist, but it is the most important. Having served as the American Ambassador to Germany during a period of global tumult, John is a committed transatlanticist with a keen understanding not only of the challenges in the German-American relationship but also of the transformative power of fostering dialogue to keep the foundation of this pivotal relationship strong.”
“We are grateful to Bob Kimmitt for his deep commitment to the German-American relationship and his devoted leadership over the past seven years,” President Sokol said. “We look forward to an exciting new chapter as John Emerson assumes the chairmanship. This is a critical period for the German-American relationship, and the ACG has an important role to play in maintaining strong ties across the Atlantic.”
Ambassador Emerson was U.S. Ambassador to Germany from 2013 to 2017. Serving at a particularly challenging time, in 2015 Ambassador Emerson was awarded the State Department’s prestigious Sue M. Cobb Award for Exemplary Diplomatic Service. He was also awarded the highest civilian awards given by the Navy and the CIA, respectively, upon his departure from the post.
Before going to Berlin, he was the President of Capital Group Private Client Services from 1997 to July 2013. Previously, he served on President Clinton’s senior staff, from 1993 to 1997, as Deputy Director of Presidential Personnel, and subsequently as Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. Ambassador Emerson also coordinated the Economic Conference of the Clinton-Gore transition team and led the Administration’s efforts to obtain congressional approval of the GATT Uruguay Round Agreement in 1994, and the extension of China’s Most-Favored-Nation trading status in 1996. In 2010, President Obama appointed Ambassador Emerson to serve on the President’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations.
Earlier in his career, Ambassador Emerson served as the Los Angeles Chief Deputy City Attorney (1987-1993). Before that, he was a Partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. Ambassador Emerson graduated from Hamilton College (AB, 1975) and University of Chicago (JD, 1978).
The American Council on Germany (ACG) is an independent, nonpartisan nonprofit organization that was founded in 1952 to strengthen German-American relations. Through a range of programs and activities, the ACG addresses the most pressing economic, political, and social challenges of the day to ensure better mutual understanding.