John B. Emerson

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John B. Emerson
John B. Emerson.jpg
United States Ambassador to Germany
In office
August 26, 2013 – January 20, 2017
PresidentBarack Obama
DeputyKent Logsdon[1]
Preceded byPhil Murphy
Succeeded byRichard Grenell
Personal details
John Bonnell Emerson

(1954-01-11) January 11, 1954 (age 65)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Kimberly Marteau
Alma materHamilton College, New York
University of Chicago

John Bonnell Emerson (born January 11, 1954) is an American diplomat, lawyer and the former United States Ambassador to Germany, having served from 2013 to 2017.[2] He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on August 1, 2013. He was sworn on August 7, 2013. Emerson arrived with his family in Berlin on August 15, 2013.[3][4][5] Emerson is the 2015 recipient of the State Department's Susan M Cobb Award for Exemplary Diplomatic Service, which is given annually to a non-career Ambassador who has used private sector leadership and management skills to make a significant impact on bilateral or multilateral relations through proactive diplomacy.


Emerson was raised in Bloomfield, New Jersey and Larchmont, New York. He received his bachelor's degree in Government and Philosophy from Hamilton College in 1975 and earned a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School in 1978.

He practiced law with Manatt, Phelps and Phillips and made partner in 1983. He served as Deputy Campaign Manager for Gary Hart's Presidential campaign until its dissolution in May 1987, and then served as Chief Deputy/Chief of Staff in the city attorney's office in Los Angeles, under City Attorney James K. Hahn. Emerson narrowly lost a race for the California State Assembly in 1991.

He was active in a number of subsequent political campaigns, including serving as Bill Clinton's California campaign manager in 1992.[6][4] After Clinton was elected, Emerson worked as an assistant at the White House, as Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs where he served as liaison to the nation's governors, and coordinated the Administration's efforts to obtain congressional approval of the Uruguay Round of the GATT trade agreement. Emerson was particularly noted for his work as the president's chief liaison in dealing with California issues,[6] including the aftermath of the 1994 Northridge earthquake.[7] He subsequently worked at Capital Group Companies, an international investment management company headquartered in Los Angeles, where he became president of private client services, serving in that capacity for 16 years.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Emerson is married to Kimberly Marteau Emerson, attorney and civic leader [1], [2]. The couple has three daughters: Hayley, Taylor and Jacqueline Emerson. Prior and subsequent to moving to Germany, he and Kimberly were active in civic affairs, serving on a number of non-profit boards, including (for John), the Music Center of Los Angeles County, the LA Metropolitan YMCA, the Pacific Council on International Policy, the American Council on Germany, the German Marshall Fund, the Buckley School and Marlborough School; and for Kimberly, Human Rights Watch, United Friends of the Children, the USC Annenberg School Center on Public Diplomacy, United Way Germany, and the Archer School for Girls.


  1. ^ "Deputy Chief of Mission". August 24, 2015. Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  2. ^ Revesz, Rachel (January 20, 2017). "Donald Trump has fired all foreign US ambassadors with nobody to replace them". The Independent. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
  3. ^ "US-Botschafter Emerson tritt schwierigen Posten an - SPIEGEL ONLINE". Spiegel Online (in German). Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Ambassador to Germany: Who Is John Emerson?", AllGov, June 24, 2013.
  5. ^ Marquis Who's Who on the Web
  6. ^ a b Paul Richter, "Mr. Fix-It : When things don't run right in California, the White House calls on John Emerson. His job? Ensuring that the politicians--and the voters--are happy.", Los Angeles Times, May 29, 1994.
  7. ^ Scott Harris, "Quake as a Political Mover and Shaker", Los Angeles Times, July 3, 1994.
  8. ^ "New US ambassador arrives in Berlin with focus on trade issues", Deutsche Welle, August 15, 2013.

External links[edit]

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Phil Murphy
United States Ambassador to Germany
Succeeded by
Richard Grenell