Robert H. Tuttle

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Robert H. Tuttle
Robert Holmes Tuttle.jpg
United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom
In office
October 19, 2005 – February 6, 2009
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Barack Obama
Preceded byWilliam S. Farish III
Succeeded byLouis Susman
Director of Presidential Personnel
In office
February 7, 1985 – January 20, 1989
PresidentRonald Reagan
Preceded byJohn S. Herrington
Succeeded byChase Untermeyer
Personal details
Robert Holmes Tuttle

(1943-08-04) August 4, 1943 (age 77)
California, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Maria Denise Hummer

Robert Holmes Tuttle (born August 4, 1943) is a businessman specializing in car dealerships. He also held the post of United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom from July 2005 to February 2009.[1][2]

Early life and career[edit]

He is a graduate of Stanford University, and earned his Master of Business Administration degree at the University of Southern California. Tuttle is the son of Holmes Tuttle, founder of the Southern California chain of auto dealerships and, in the 1960s and 1970s, a prominent force behind the political rise of actor Ronald Reagan. Tuttle previously worked in the White House during the Reagan administration as an assistant to the President in 1982, and director of presidential personnel in 1985. An avid tennis player, he enjoyed occasional games of tennis at the White House tennis court. Tuttle was also on the board of directors of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.[citation needed]

Diplomatic career[edit]

United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom[edit]

Former First Minister of Wales Rhodri Morgan meets U.S. Ambassador Robert Tuttle on October 7, 2005, in Cardiff.

A California native, he was nominated to be ambassador by U.S. President George W. Bush. He had raised more than $200,000 for Bush's 2004 presidential campaign and inauguration ceremony.[3] Both Tuttle and his predecessor William Stamps Farish III were both wealthy private citizens with personal and financial ties to the Bush family.[4]

Controversy over congestion fee[edit]

Tuttle is perhaps most widely known for his (and the U.S. Embassy's) refusal to pay the London congestion charge.[5] The embassy has claimed that the charge is a form of taxation, and the diplomats and their staff are therefore exempt under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Transport for London, which is headed by the Mayor of London, considers the charge to be a fee for service rather than a tax, and points out that other embassies in London pay it, and US embassies in other cities pay similar road charges. The embassy says that the decision to stop paying was made before Tuttle became Ambassador, although the embassy only ceased payment after he took up the post.[citation needed]

In March 2006, the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, said that Tuttle was trying to "skive out of [paying] like some chiselling little crook".[6] A survey published in 2007 showed that the United States owed £1.5 million in outstanding congestion charge payments. Livingstone again chided Tuttle, and called him a "venal little crook" for his refusal to pay.[7] Actor Tom Conti, founder of campaign group London Motorists Action Group (LMAG), however, said: "I think the American ambassador's stance on this is very reasoned, I think he makes his case very well. Obviously, when you have got a parking ticket then you've done something wrong - so you should pay up. But in terms of the congestion charge I can see how some of these diplomats feel".[8][page needed]

Later career[edit]

Tuttle is a partner in the Tuttle-Click Automotive Group based in Irvine, California, and the Jim Click Automotive Group based out of Tucson, Arizona. He currently serves as the chairman of the board of directors of the Pacific Council on International Policy.[9] He is a trustee of the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress in Washington, D.C.[10]

Personal life[edit]

He is married to the former Maria Denise Hummer. Tuttle and his wife are both avid collectors of contemporary art.[11] He has two daughters from a previous marriage.[citation needed]


  1. ^ American Ambassadors to the United Kingdom Archived 2009-02-20 at the Wayback Machine Embassy of the U.S. London
  2. ^ US embassy close to admitting Syria rendition flight, The Guardian, December 27, 2005
  3. ^ How $200,000 gave Bush friend ticket to London, The Times, June 11, 2005
  4. ^ "Car sales boss is Bush's UK envoy | World news | The Guardian". Retrieved January 4, 2016.
  5. ^ Livingstone hits out at US ambassador Archived 2006-04-18 at the Wayback Machine,, March 28, 2006.
  6. ^ British Press Review,, March 28, 2006.
  7. ^ Diplomatic C-charge bill tops £4.5m,, June 22, 2007.
  8. ^ London Motorists Action Group statement,, June 22, 2007.
  9. ^ "Board of Directors". Pacific Council on International Policy. Archived from the original on March 10, 2012. Retrieved June 4, 2012.
  10. ^ "Board of Trustees". Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress. Retrieved October 19, 2014.
  11. ^ Interview with Robert Tuttle, Country Life, December 4, 2008.

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
William Stamps Farish III
U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
Louis Susman