BIOGRAPHY: William E. Kennard

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Policy Planning Staff

Date: 04/29/2015 Description: Secretary's Foreign Affairs Policy Board: William E. Kennard - State Dept ImageMr. Kennard currently is non-executive chairman and co-founder of Velocitas Partners LLC, an asset management firm and is also a member of the Operating Executive Board of Staple Street Capital, a private equity firm. He serves on the boards of directors of AT&T, Inc., MetLife, Inc. and Duke Energy Corporation, and Ford Motor Company. He has served as a director of several public companies including Sprint Corp., FON Group (formerly Sprint Nextel Corp.), The New York Times Company and Dex Media, Inc., as well as a number of private companies.

He served as the United States’ Ambassador to the European Union from December 2009 to August 2013. As Ambassador, Mr. Kennard worked actively to promote transatlantic trade and investment and to eliminate regulatory barriers to commerce. He was a key force behind President Obama’s decision in February 2013 to launch negotiations on the ambitious Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership which aims to expand trade and investment across the Atlantic.

Before serving as an Ambassador, Mr. Kennard was managing director of the global private equity firm The Carlyle Group from 2001 to 2009 where he led investments in the telecommunications and media sectors. Before joining The Carlyle Group, Mr. Kennard served as chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission from November 1997 to January 2001. During his tenure, he shaped policies that created an explosion of new wireless phones, brought the Internet to a majority of American households and incentivized billions of dollars of investment in new broadband technologies. At the same time, he implemented bold new policies to bridge the digital divide in the United States and around the world.

He has received many honors and awards for his accomplishments including honorary degrees from Howard University, Gallaudet University and Long Island University, and awards from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the Easter Seals Foundation, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the American Chamber of Commerce to the European Union.

Mr. Kennard also has served on several nonprofit boards including the Yale University Council, Gallaudet University, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, and One Economy Corporation. He currently serves as a Fellow of the Yale Corporation and is a member of Secretary of State John Kerry’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board.

Mr. Kennard graduated from Stanford University and received his law degree from Yale Law School.