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The White House

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 9/11/09

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                                                 September 12, 2009
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts
WASHINGTON – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key administration posts:
  • Eric L. Hirschhorn, Under Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration and head of the Bureau of Industry and Security, Department of Commerce
  • Gladys J. Commons, Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Financial Management & Comptroller), Department of the Navy, Department of Defense
  • Leslie Rowe, Ambassador to the Republic of Mozambique
  • Cynthia Stroum, Ambassador to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
  • Jeff Bleich, Ambassador to Australia
  • Irvin Mayfield, Jr., Member, National Council on the Arts
President Obama also announced that he has designated Richard A. Lidinsky, Jr. as Chair of the Federal Maritime Commission.
President Obama said, "This impressive group of individuals brings tremendous experience in their respective fields and a dedication to serving this country, here at home and around the world. I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead."
President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals today:
Eric L. Hirschhorn, Nominee for Under Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration and head of the Bureau of Industry and Security, Department of Commerce
Eric Hirschhorn, a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Winston & Strawn LLP, long has been active in the areas of international law, litigation, and professional responsibility. As Deputy Assistant Secretary for Export Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce (1980-81), Mr. Hirschhorn oversaw U.S. export controls for items having commercial as well as military applications, antiboycott compliance, restraints on imports for national security reasons, and the Department’s participation in the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). Earlier, while a member of President Jimmy Carter’s reorganization project staff (1977-80), he worked on reorganizing the government’s international trade, public diplomacy, and foreign assistance mechanisms. Before working in the Executive branch, Mr. Hirschhorn held several congressional staff positions, was in private law practice in New York City, and was a legal services lawyer. Mr. Hirschhorn has represented clients on a wide range of commercial and regulatory matters since returning to private law practice in 1981. Mr. Hirschhorn is Executive Secretary of the Industry Coalition on Technology Transfer (ICOTT), a group whose industry participants are affected by U.S. export control and embargo rules. He is the author of The Export Control and Embargo Handbook, Second Edition, published in 2004, and numerous articles on export controls, embargoes, and related topics. He chairs the D.C. Bar Rules of Professional Conduct Review Committee and is a member (and former chair) of the D.C. Bar Legal Ethics Committee. He also is a member of the New York City Bar Association and the Thurgood Marshall American Inn of Court. Mr. Hirschhorn received his B.A. degree from the University of Chicago and a J.D. degree from Columbia University, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar.
Gladys J. Commons, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Financial Management & Comptroller), Department of the Navy, Department of Defense
From 2002 to 2004, Ms. Gladys Commons served as comptroller of Military Sealift Command where she directed the programming, budgeting, and execution of a $2.4 billion annual budget which provided resources to operate a fleet of 131 logistics force, special mission, strategic sealift and prepositioned ships. In this role, Commons also resolved long standing financial issues and restored credibility and integrity to the Command's programming and budgeting process. Prior to this position, Commons served for eight years as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Financial Management and Comptroller) and briefly as Acting Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Financial Management and Comptroller). She has also served as Deputy for Financial Management/Comptroller at Marine Corps Systems Command. Commons holds a Bachelors degree in Education from Fayetteville State University and a Masters degree in Public Financial Management from American University.
Leslie Rowe, Nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of Mozambique
Leslie Rowe has served as U.S. Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu since 2006. A career diplomat and Minister Counselor in the Senior Foreign Service, Ambassador Rowe has previously been Deputy Chief of Mission at the American Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, the largest U.S. Embassy in Sub-Saharan Africa, from 2003 to 2006. Ambassador Rowe entered the Foreign Service in 1983. From 2000 to 2003, she served as Consul General in Bangkok, Thailand with regional responsibilities for the Embassies in Burma, Cambodia and Laos. She was Consul General in Lisbon, Portugal from 1996 to 2000 and was the first Director of the State Department’s Office of Children’s Issues from 1994 to 1996. During her career in the Foreign Service, she also served in the Human Resources Office from 1993 to 1994 and was Country Desk Officer for Chile from 1992-1993. From 1988 to 1992 she was Principal Officer of the U.S. Consulate in Recife, where she covered political, economic and development issues in seven states in northeast Brazil. She also served as Deputy Consul General at the U.S. Embassy in San Jose, Costa Rica, from 1986 to1988 and consular officer in Sao Paulo, Brazil from 1984 to 1986. Ambassador Rowe holds a B.A. from Washington State University, an M.A. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University and a M.Ed. from Northeastern University.
Cynthia Stroum, Nominee for Ambassador to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
A native of Seattle, Cynthia Stroum has been an angel investor in over twenty successful technology, biotechnology and retail start-up companies, including Starbucks Coffee Company. Over the last 30 years, Ms. Stroum has also been active in civic and charitable activities focusing on philanthropy and community service, establishing two non-profit foundations, with a particular focus on cancer research. Ms. Stroum has helped to bring greater visibility to pancreatic cancer, serving on the board of The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and as the Founding Chairman of the Board of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN). She has also served on the board of the Shoah Foundation. Previous to her business and philanthropic ventures, Ms. Stroum worked in the television and film industries and continues her commitment to the arts. Ms. Stroum made her Broadway producing debut in 2004 with the acclaimed Broadway production of A Raisin in the Sun, earning her a Tony nomination. Ms. Stroum holds a BA in Public Relations and Journalism from the University of Southern California.
Jeff Bleich, Nominee for Ambassador to Australia
Jeff Bleich is the Special Counsel to the President at the White House. From 1995 to 2009 he was a litigation partner in the San Francisco office of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, where he was recognized as one of the nation’s top lawyers. Outside of his legal practice, Mr. Bleich has a long-standing commitment to international law. After clerking for Judge Howard Holtzmann at the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal and acting as Special Rapporteur to the International Court of Arbitration, he assisted the Special Prosecutor for the International Tribunal for the Former-Yugoslavia. He has taught international human rights at UC Berkeley's School of Law, and written and lectured extensively on the international criminal court. More recently, Mr. Bleich represented the ABA before the United States Supreme Court in several matters including the Medellin case concerning the Vienna Convention on Consular Rights. He recently chaired both the ABA's Amicus Curiae Committee and the subcommittee on Corporate Social Responsibility. Mr. Bleich served as an officer or member in numerous foreign policy organizations including the Council on Foreign Relations, the ABA Section on International Law, the Pacific Council on International Policy, the International Law Association, the American Society of International Law, and Human Rights Watch. In 2008, he served simultaneously as the Chair of the California State University Board of Trustees and as the President of the State Bar of California. Mr. Bleich received his B.A. from Amherst College, his Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University, and his law degree from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law. He received his certificate in Public International Law from the Hague Academy in 1993. Following graduation from law school, he clerked for Chief Justice Rehnquist on the United States Supreme Court as well as Judge Abner J. Mikva of the D.C. Circuit.
Irvin Mayfield, Jr., Nominee for Member, National Council on the Arts
Irvin Mayfield, Jr. is a jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and Artistic Director of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. He began his career as co-leader of the Afro-Latin jazz group Los Hombres Calientes for which he received a Grammy nomination and Billboard's Contemporary Latin Jazz Album of the Year award in 2000. Mr. Mayfield has produced a number of solo albums and tours nationally and internationally as the leader of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. Outside of his work in the arts, Mr. Mayfield is extensively involved in public service and academics. He is the first musician to sit on the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce and is the current Chair of the New Orleans Public Library board. He also serves or has served as a member of The Louisiana Rebirth Advisory Board, the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, the Bring New Orleans Back Commission, and Louisiana State University’s Psychiatric Department Board. In 2008, Mr. Mayfield founded the New Orleans Jazz Institute at the University of New Orleans, where he serves as a professor and Artistic Director. The program follows the Institute of Jazz Culture at Dillard University, which Mayfield established in 2002. In 2003, State and local governments in Louisiana named Mr. Mayfield the official Cultural Ambassador of the City of New Orleans.
President Obama also made the following announcement today:
Richard A. Lidinsky, Jr., Designated to Chair, Federal Maritime Commission
Richard A. Lidinsky, Jr., has worked in the international maritime trade industry for 35 years from positions in both business and government. Beginning with his service as a Congressional aide on the U.S. House of Representatives Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee, he began his professional legal career in the Federal Maritime Commission’s Office of General Counsel as Legislative Counsel from 1973-75. In 1975 he was appointed by the Maryland Port Administration to be Director of Tariffs and National Port Affairs, as well as counsel. While representing the Port of Baltimore on both regional and national port organizations, he was a key architect of the port protection sections in the Panama Canal Treaty Implementing Legislation and the Shipping Act of 1984. He also helped negotiate on behalf of the port one of the first US-China trade agreements. In 1985 he was recruited by Sea Containers Ltd, the global maritime manufacturer and leasing company, to establish their Washington, DC, office. As Vice President for Governmental Affairs until 2006, he established their contracts with the Pentagon to supply military equipment from Sea Containers’ factory in Charleston, SC. He also served as a member of the Sealift Transportation Committee of the National Defense Transportation Association; as Board Director and on the Defense, Transportation and Port Security Committee of the British-American Business Association; and as a High-Level Expert to the U.S. NATO Delegation on the Ports and Intermodal Transportation Committee from 1995-2005. He is currently working as an attorney and international trade consultant in private practice. He received his JD from the University of Maryland in 1972 and his BA from the School of Government and Public Administration of American University in 1968. From 1968 to 1975, he served in the U.S. Coast Guard on active and reserve duty.