Biden has selected Amy Gutmann as his nominee for top diplomat in Berlin, according to a release from the White House.
The President has also chosen Virginia Palmer as nominee for ambassador to Ghana, Jeffrey Hovenier for Kosovo and Chantale Wong as the nominee for US director of the Asian Development Bank, a title that comes with the rank of ambassador.
His nomination of Gutmann as the top US envoy to Germany — his first pick for an ambassador to a G7 country — comes ahead of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s expected visit to the White House, which could be her last as head of state. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also traveled to Berlin in recent weeks, where he met with Merkel and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and emphasized the strength of the US-German relationship.
If confirmed, Gutmann will fill a role that has been vacant for more than a year, following Ric Grenell’s resignation last June. Grenell, a Trump appointee who also served as acting director of national intelligence, was a polarizing figure known for rankling allies.
Gutmann, who is currently president of the University of Pennsylvania, would be the first woman to serve as US ambassador to Germany. Her father fled Nazi Germany at the outset of the Holocaust.
Her relationship with Biden developed when she helped to set up the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement following his time as vice president, according to sources familiar with the matter. She has led the Ivy League school since 2004 and is a political scientist by training but has always been interested in foreign affairs, sources said.
Palmer, Biden’s pick for ambassador to Ghana, currently is the acting assistant secretary at the State Department’s Bureau of Energy Resources. Hovenier, his pick for top diplomat in Kosovo, is the deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Ankara, Turkey. Both are career foreign service officers.
Biden has announced several tranches of other career and political ambassador nominees but has yet to make public his choices for numerous key posts, including London, New Delhi and Beijing. He is expected to nominate Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti as ambassador to India. Although Garcetti was at the White House on Friday for a Los Angeles Dodgers celebration, his name was not included in the latest round of ambassadors. Neither was that of Nick Burns, who is expected to be picked for China.