Confirmation of Ambassador Thomas Shannon as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and Appointment of Ambassador Kristie Kenney as State Department Counselor

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
February 12, 2016


I congratulate and thank the U.S. Senate for its decision today to confirm Ambassador Tom Shannon, one of our nation’s most talented diplomats, as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.

Tom has had an outstanding career in the Foreign Service, and in his most recent role as the State Department’s Counselor, he has been deeply involved in every important aspect of the Department’s work—ranging from the economic future of the Middle East to political developments in the Western Hemisphere. I will continue to count on Tom’s vast experience, sound judgment, leadership skills, and wisdom to advance American interests and values in every corner of the globe.

I am also pleased to announce that Ambassador Kristie Kenney will succeed Tom as State Department Counselor, taking on special assignments and advising me on an array of issues. The daughter of a public school teacher and a World War II veteran, Kristie has public service in her DNA. She rose through the ranks of the U.S. Foreign Service, and over the course of her career, has served as Ambassador to Thailand, the Philippines, and Ecuador. I know her to be one of the most effective leaders in the Department, with impeccable judgment and extraordinary skill under pressure. Her appointment as Counselor makes her one of the most senior female Foreign Service Officers in the history of our country.

The United States has a full diplomatic agenda and much to accomplish in the coming months, so I’m grateful for the Senate’s action and look forward to the continued contributions Tom and Kristie will be making to America’s global leadership.