|United States Ambassador to Sweden|
November 7, 2019 – January 20, 2021
|Preceded by||Azita Raji|
|Succeeded by||Pamela M. Tremont|
Kenneth Alan Howery
November 4, 1975
|Alma mater||Stanford University (BA)|
|Known for||Co-founder and CFO at PayPal; Co-founder and partner at Founders Fund|
Kenneth Alan Howery (//; born November 4, 1975) is an American entrepreneur and diplomat. He is a co-founder of PayPal and Founders Fund. He served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Sweden from 2019 to 2021.
Early life and education
Howery was born in 1975 in Texas. Later graduating from Stanford University in 1998 with a B.A. in economics. While at Stanford, he was managing editor of The Stanford Review, a student-run newspaper founded by Peter Thiel.
The same year he graduated, he co-founded PayPal with Peter Thiel, Luke Nosek, Elon Musk, and Max Levchin. The group of founders became known as the PayPal Mafia, which included other peers and early investors. From 1998 to 2002, Howery served as PayPal's CFO. Following PayPal's acquisition by eBay in 2002, Howery served as eBay's Director of Corporate Development until 2003. Howery then rejoined Thiel in 2004 at Clarium Capital Management, where he served as vice president of private equity, as well as a member of the research and trading teams.
In March 2012, the World Economic Forum named Howery a Young Global Leader, a community of “socially-minded men and women selected under the age of 40, who operate as a force for good to overcome barriers that elsewhere stand in the way of progress." He is also a member of the Selection Committee for the World Economic Forum Technology Pioneers Program.
In 2005, Howery and Thiel, along with fellow PayPal alumnus, Luke Nosek, started Founders Fund, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm with over $3 billion under management, where he served as co-founder and partner. He has served on the boards of Quantcast and ZocDoc. In 2010, Venture Capital Journal named Howery one of the Top 10 VCs under 36. He has lectured on entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School and Stanford, and has helped students at UC Berkeley and the McCombs School of Business develop business models.
Howery serves as an advisor to Kiva, a 501(c)(3) charity organization which enables people to lend money via the Internet to low-income entrepreneurs and students in over 80 countries. He is a member of the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, which has a stated goal of increasing the United States' economic competitiveness in the global marketplace.
Howery's net worth stands at $1.5 billion.
On January 16, 2019, Howery was nominated by President Donald Trump to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Sweden. Following a confirmation hearing on May 16, 2019, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee favorably reported Howery's nomination to the Senate, which confirmed Howery on September 17, 2019 by a vote of 62–32. In his confirmation hearing, Howery stated his priorities as Ambassador would include pursuing expanded economic and trade relationships, advancing mutual security commitments, and promoting science, technology and entrepreneurship opportunities.
As Ambassador, Howery was active across a number of policy areas. Howery engaged with Swedish officials on defence issues and military strategy, including pressing for increased interoperability of U.S. and Swedish military systems. He also advocated for the longstanding U.S. goal of increased European defence spending; Sweden approved a 40% increase in defence spending over five years during Howery's tenure - the largest increase in more than 70 years.
Ambassador Howery strongly advocated for clean 5G technology, promoting the official U.S Department of State position that encourages the use of equipment made by Swedish manufacturer Ericsson and asserts that Huawei-made products are a security risk to democracies. Howery met with senior Swedish officials on 5G security in September, 2020, and Sweden subsequently announced a ban on equipment from telecommunication companies Huawei and ZTE in its 5G network. Ambassador Howery also promoted increased cooperation, including on security issues, between the U.S. and Sweden in the Arctic. In October 2020, Sweden published its first new Arctic Strategy in a decade, highlighting concerns about deteriorating global relations and the growth of military activity in the Arctic. His Arctic advocacy included helping establish a partnership between the Arctic Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Sweden's Luleå University of Technology.
As Sweden serves as the protecting power for the United States in North Korea, Howery worked to maintain a strong communication channel for the push for denuclearization, and worked with Swedish officials to counter disinformation, and promote democracy, human rights, free trade, and regional security.
Ambassador Howery advocated for the importance of transparency and information-sharing between countries to respond effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic. He led efforts by U.S. Embassy Stockholm to assist Swedish manufacturer Getinge with supply chain issues, helping it to expand production of ventilators for the benefit of COVID-19 patients in the United States and around the world.
Ambassador Howery has engaged with the Swedish academic community, including on the role universities can play in entrepreneurship and the importance of academic integrity. He has conducted outreach to the U.S. and Swedish business communities in Sweden, including delivering speeches at the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce and the American Chamber of Commerce. He has also engaged with top Swedish scientific research institutes, science parks, and Sweden's Innovation Agency.
- Kelly, Makena (2018-10-16). "Peter Thiel associate named as ambassador to Sweden". The Verge. Retrieved 2020-08-04.
- "Ken Howery". Forbes. Retrieved 2020-08-04.
- "USA:s ambassadör i Sverige har lämnat in avskedsansökan". SVT. January 13, 2021. Retrieved January 14, 2021.
- "The U.S. Ambassador visits Chalmers". January 9, 2020. Retrieved January 14, 2021.
- "PN127 116th Congress". September 17, 2019. Retrieved January 14, 2021.
- "Life After the Stanford Review". The Stanford Review. February 10, 2012. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
- "Board and Advisors | Kiva". blog.kiva.org. Retrieved 2017-07-28.
- "List of 2012 Young Global Leaders Honourees" (PDF). World Economic Forum. July 20, 2012. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
- "Young Global Leaders". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 2017-07-28.
- Staff (August 2, 2010). "Hot prospects: Top 10 VCs under 36". Reuters.
- "Behind the Scenes with PayPal Co-Founder Ken Howery". IVY MAGAZINE. October 11, 2016. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
- "PayPal net worth has surpassed parent company eBay - Compelo". NS Business. 2018-02-01. Retrieved 2020-06-17.
- "Nominations Sent to the Senate". The White House. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
- "Sweden one step closer to getting a US ambassador – after more than two years". www.thelocal.se. May 29, 2019.
- "U.S. Senate: U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 116th Congress - 1st Session". www.senate.gov.
- "PN127 — Kenneth A. Howery — Department of State". Congress.gov. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
- "Statement of Kenneth A. Howery" (PDF). Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
- "Ambassador Kenneth A. Howery". U.S. Embassy in Sweden. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
- "The King receives foreign ambassadors - Sveriges Kungahus". www.kungahuset.se. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
- ""USA:s och Sveriges militära samarbete har aldrig varit tätare än under Trump"". DN.SE (in Swedish). 2020-12-21. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
- Brussels, Michael M. Phillips in Gotland, Sweden, and James Marson in (2021-01-05). "Russian Aggression Spurs Neighbors to Rebuild Defenses". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2021-02-16.
- "A Farewell Message from Ambassador Howery". U.S. Embassy in Sweden. 2021-01-20. Retrieved 2021-02-16.
- "Sweden ups defense budget 40% due to regional tensions". Defense News. Associated Press. 2020-12-15. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
- Piauger, Alexander (2020-01-23). "USA:s ambassadör om Kinas investeringar i Göteborg: "Det kan ni få ångra"". gp.se (in Swedish). Retrieved 2020-12-22.
- Ken Howery [@USAmbSweden] (9 September 2020). "Secure 5G, Arctic issues, and eastern Europe are just some of the issues the U.S. and Sweden cooperate on hand-in-hand. Thanks @SweMFA State Secretary Rydberg and @SweAmericas Head Veronika Wand-Danielsson (@AmbVWD) for a great discussion" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 9 September 2020 – via Twitter.
- Soderpalm, Supantha Mukherjee, Helena (2020-10-20). "Sweden bans Huawei, ZTE from upcoming 5G networks". Reuters. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
- "DEBATT: "Ryssland och Kina skapar risker i Arktis"". Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish). 2020-02-19. ISSN 1101-2412. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
- Regeringskansliet, Regeringen och (2020-11-10). "Sweden's strategy for the Arctic region 2020". Regeringskansliet. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
- Bye, Text Hilde-Gunn. "Sweden Launches New Arctic Strategy". www.highnorthnews.com. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
- "Arctic Innovation Lab: New Ideas For a Better Arctic". Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
- "North Korea International Travel Information". travel.state.gov. Retrieved 2021-02-16.
- "DEBATT. USA:s ambassadör: Vi måste förenas i kampen mot corona". www.expressen.se (in Swedish). Retrieved 2020-12-22.
- "Remarks for the October 1, 2020 SACC-USA Executive Forum". U.S. Embassy in Sweden. Archived from the original on 2021-01-13. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
- "US Ambassador Kenneth Howery highlights the university's importance for entrepreneurship - Luleå University of Technology". www.ltu.se. 2020-02-14. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
- Ken Howery [@USAmbSweden] (8 December 2020). "Delighted to have leaders of several of Sweden's top universities join me for a wide-ranging discussion today with @STASatState Dr. Mung Chiang about ensuring academic integrity while promoting cutting-edge research" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 19 January 2021 – via Twitter.
- Ken Howery [@USAmbSweden] (20 October 2020). "Enjoyed talking about #entrepreneurship and #innovation with #Malmö tech investor Hampus Jakobsson (@hajak) at Malmö Business Day" (Tweet) – via Twitter. Check
- Ken Howery [@USAmbSweden] (14 February 2020). "Impressed by @SSAB_AB's innovative initiatives to pilot (and eventually scale up) carbon free steel production. Also excited to find out how SSAB Americas is bringing their technology to #Iowa and #Alabama. Private sector innovation will lead the way" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 14 February 2020 – via Twitter.
- Ken Howery [@USAmbSweden] (22 January 2020). "Thank you to Henrik Henriksson and the entire team at @scaniagroup in #Södertälje for a wonderful day learning about #Scania!" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 19 January 2021 – via Twitter.
- Ken Howery [@USAmbSweden] (15 January 2020). "Honored to be invited to @AstraZeneca incubator, @BioVentureHub, which houses some fascinating bio- and medtech startups. I hope to see them invested in the U.S. one day soon!" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 15 January 2020 – via Twitter.
- Ken Howery [@USAmbSweden] (9 December 2019). "Thanks to @Ericsson CEO Börje Ekholm for showing me how Ericsson provides secure 5G technology to networks around the world. #USSwedishTrade" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 9 December 2019 – via Twitter.
- "EXECUTIVE FORUM 2020 [WASHINGTON, D.C.]". SACC-NE. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
- "A Conversation with Ambassador Kenneth A. Howery". American Chamber of Commerce in Sweden. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
- European Spallation Source [@essneutron] (20 October 2020). "We were happy to host the US Ambassador to Sweden on site yesterday! We look forward to seeing you at #ESSneutron again soon @USAmbSweden!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- MAX IV Laboratory [@MAXIVLaboratory] (20 October 2020). "We are glad and honored to have welcomed @USAmbSweden to @MAXIVLaboratory. No one better than our director Ian McNulty could showcase the great potential of the world's brightest source of #xray and the opportunities for #research and #collaboration" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Ken Howery [@USAmbSweden] (21 October 2020). "Exciting to see some of the cutting-edge life science work going on @MedeonSP and Open Lab #Skåne this morning; hope some of these firms will consider investing in and partnering with the United States soon" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 21 October 2020 – via Twitter.
- Lindholmen Science Park [@Lindholmen] (21 January 2020). "Här är ett förevigat ögonblick från det intressanta och givande besöket med ambassadör Ken Howery @USAmbSweden. #gbgftw #lindholmensciencepark #Sweden #collaboration" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Ken Howery [@USAmbSweden] (9 March 2020). "Interesting briefing by @vinnovase DG Darja Isaksson (@darjaisaksson) on their operations, strategic innovation programs and activities in the U.S." (Tweet). Archived from the original on 9 March 2020 – via Twitter.
| United States Ambassador to Sweden
Pamela M. Tremont