Mark Gitenstein

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Mark Gitenstein
Mark H Gitenstein ambassador.jpg
United States Ambassador to Romania
In office
August 28, 2009 – December 14, 2012
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded byNicholas Taubman
Succeeded byDuane Butcher (acting)
Personal details
Born (1947-03-07) March 7, 1947 (age 73)
Montgomery, Alabama, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationDuke University (BA)
Georgetown University (JD)

Mark Henry Gitenstein (born March 7, 1947) is an American lawyer who served as the United States Ambassador to Romania from 2009 to 2012. He was nominated by President Barack Obama on June 11, 2009[1] and confirmed by the United States Senate on July 8, 2009.[2] As of December 14, 2012 he has completed his diplomatic assignment and has returned to private life in the United States.[3]

Ambassador to Romania[edit]

The Romanian English-language newsdaily Nine O’Clock selected Ambassador Gitenstein as "The Foreign Diplomat of the Year for 2011."[4] Gitenstein worked to strengthen relations with Romania on a variety of issues, focusing on fighting corruption, improving transparency, and strengthening the rule of law.[5][6][7] He actively promoted deeper development of Romania's equity markets, as well as a fair and transparent business environment for all investors.[8][9] He also encouraged greater private sector involvement in state-owned enterprises (SOEs), including the introduction of a corporate governance code for SOEs.[10] As a means of promoting social change, Gitenstein worked with TechSoup Romania to establish Restart Romania, a project designed to demonstrate the power of the internet and social media to find solutions to social justice problems, support transparency of public institutions, and promote grass roots efforts to fight corruption.[11][12] The U.S. – Romanian Ballistic Missile Defense Agreement was signed and negotiated during Gitenstein's tenure in Bucharest.[13] Gitenstein travelled to Afghanistan three times to visit U.S. and Romanian troops.[14][15] He was a human rights advocate for the country's minority Roma population.[16][17]

Background and education[edit]

Gitenstein is of Romanian Jewish heritage, as his grandparents were immigrants from Botoșani,[18] Romania in the late 19th century.[19][20] He went to high school at the private Indian Springs School in Indian Springs, Alabama, graduating in 1964.[21] He attended Duke University and Georgetown Law School. He is married to Elizabeth (Libby) Gitenstein and has three children and five grandchildren.[3]


He was previously a law partner at Mayer Brown, beginning in 1989[22] and a "nonresident senior fellow" at the Brookings Institution.[23] He is the author of Matters of Principle, and has been selected by his peers several times for inclusion in "Best Lawyers in America".[24]

He was also on the advisory board for President-elect Barack Obama's presidential transition team.[25] He was named as a leading choice to lead the Office of Legal Policy in the Department of Justice.[26] but was rejected after public reports of his extensive work as a registered lobbyist for the US Chamber of Commerce.[27]

Prior to his work at Mayer Brown, Gitenstein served as Chief Counsel (1987–1989) and Minority Chief Counsel (1981–1987) to the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, serving under then-Senator Joe Biden. Gitenstein also served as Counsel to the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (1975–1978).[22]

On September 5, 2020, Gitenstein was announced to be a member of the advisory council of the Biden-Harris Transition Team, which is planning the presidential transition of Joe Biden.[28][29]


See also[edit]

  • Mark H. Gitenstein (March 31, 2011). "Building Equity Markets and Reforming Energy Markets in Romania". Archived from the original on February 16, 2013.
  • "Ambassador's Blog".


  1. ^ "Officially In: Mark Gitenstein to Bucharest". Retrieved July 25, 2009.
  2. ^ "Mark Gitenstein, Confirmed as US Ambassador to Romania". Retrieved July 25, 2009.
  3. ^ a b "Biography of Ambassador Mark H. Gitenstein". Archived from the original on May 27, 2010. Retrieved September 5, 2010.
  4. ^ "Nine O'clock handed out "the Persons of the Year 2011" Awards". Nine O'clock. January 26, 2012. Retrieved August 19, 2012.
  5. ^ V.O. (July 3, 2012). "U.S. Ambassador to Romania says he is "concerned about any attempt to threaten" independence of Romania's democratic institutions". HotNews. Retrieved August 19, 2012.
  6. ^ Monica Apostol (January 25, 2012). "Gitenstein: "Profits of state companies are diverted towards well-connected individuals". Nine O'clock. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
  7. ^ Miruna Badea (July 21, 2011). "Ambasadorul SUA la Bucureşti: Salut raportul MCV, împărtăşesc îngrijorările CE legate de imunitate şi prescripţie". Gandul. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
  8. ^ "US Ambassador Gitenstein: Romania needs EUR 10 bln of energy investments, privatizations on stock market". Romania Insider. March 31, 2012. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
  9. ^ I.R. (April 10, 2012). "Mark Gitenstein: Daca 90% dintre romani nu cred in sistemul de achizitii publice, de ce ar face-o investitorii americani?". HotNews. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
  10. ^ "Ambasadorul SUA: Guvernul roman foloseste companiile de stat ca pusculite". ProTV. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
  11. ^ Daniel Ben-Horin (December 1, 2012). "Beyond The Easter Bunny: Ambassador Sparks Open Government Web Challenge". Huffington Post. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
  12. ^ R.M. (June 26, 2012). "Mark Gitenstein: Daca abordati in Romania nesanctionarea parcarilor ilegale puteti incepe sa rezolvati problema coruptiei". Retrieved August 22, 2012.
  13. ^ "Cronologie: Acordul privind scutul ar putea fi semnat în timpul vizitei americane a preşedintelui Băsescu". Mediafax. September 10, 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
  14. ^ "President Traian Basescu Goes To Afghanistan To Meet With Romanian Troops". Mediafax. November 30, 2010. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
  15. ^ "Ambassador Gitenstein Travels to Afghanistan". Archived from the original on October 15, 2011. Retrieved August 23, 2012.
  16. ^ "Ambasada SUA, îngrijorată de situaţia romilor din Baia Mare". Realitatea TV. June 6, 2012. Archived from the original on August 11, 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
  17. ^ Stefania Avram (September 19, 2012). "Ambasadorul SUA in Romania a vizitat pungile de saracie din Baia Mare". Informatia zilei. Retrieved August 23, 2012.
  18. ^ Ambasadorul SUA la București s-a recules la mormintele străbunicilor din Botoșani
  19. ^ "U.S. Nominated Ambassador To Romania To Focus On Corruption, International Adoptions". Retrieved July 8, 2009.
  20. ^ "Mark Gitenstein: Biography". Archived from the original on October 17, 2009. Retrieved May 16, 2009.
  21. ^ "Alumni Tour to Romania". Archived from the original on July 26, 2011. Retrieved September 4, 2010.
  22. ^ a b "Mayer Brown - Mark H. Gitenstein". Archived from the original on June 3, 2009. Retrieved November 27, 2008.
  23. ^ "Contributors". Archived from the original on October 26, 2010.
  24. ^ Mark Gitenstein speaker profile
  25. ^ "Obama Names Transition Team". Archived from the original on December 8, 2008. Retrieved November 6, 2008.
  26. ^ "More Names Emerge for Key DOJ Slots". Retrieved January 15, 2009.
  27. ^ Kamen, Al (February 27, 2009). "Undone Deal". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 21, 2009.
  28. ^ "Cindy McCain Joins Biden-Harris Transition Team's Advisory Board". President-Elect Joe Biden. September 28, 2020. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  29. ^ "Biden Transition Organization - Staff, Advisors". November 9, 2017. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  30. ^
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Nicholas Taubman
United States Ambassador to Romania
Succeeded by
Duane Butcher