Diplomat Pending

Obama’s choice for a new U.S. bilateral ambassador to Austria is not a surprise

After a five months vacancy, financier and businessman William Eacho was nominated on Jun. 25 as the new U.S. ambassador to Austria.

A graduate of Harvard, Eacho (55) has no previous diplomatic experience, but as with many other current and past diplomatic appointments to the so-called “safe countries” of the EU and former British commonwealth, he represents a choice in the U.S. tradition of citizen government. He has also long been active in Democratic politics and is reported to have contributed more than $500,000 to the Obama campaign, consistent with at least nine of the other 14 that landed ambassadorships.

Since the inauguration in January, President Barack Obama has appointed fourteen new U.S. ambassadors, each of which was a large campaign contributor.

Eacho is considered non-controversial. He has a long history of mostly business in the food industry and food distribution. More recently he has chaired the Carlton Capital Group, LLC, a private investment company focused on real estate and venture investments primarily in alternative energy and technology. These emphases is consistent with core program initiatives of the Obama administration.

For much of his career, he was the executive vice president of Alliant Foodservice, Inc., a $6 billion national food service distributor based in Chicago, with primary responsibility for technology and acquisition strategy.

Eacho and his wife Donna have three teenaged sons who would be joining them in Vienna. If his nomination is confirmed, he will replace David F. Girard-diCarlo, the 2000 chairman of the Bush-Cheney election campaign, as well as the campaign chairman in Pennsylvania for Sen. John McCain. Girard-diCarlo was appointed U.S. ambassador to Austria in 2008, and served for about six months.

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