Washington, DC - Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

  • Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall – Deputy Secretary, Department of Energy
  • Jess L. Baily – Ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia, Department of State
  • Judith Beth Cefkin - Ambassador to the Republic of the Fiji Islands, the Republic of Kiribati, the Republic of Nauru, the Kingdom of Tonga, and Tuvalu, Department of State
  • Robert Francis Cekuta – Ambassador to the Republic of Azerbaijan, Department of State
  • S. Fitzgerald Haney – Ambassador to the Republic of Costa Rica, Department of State
  • Ambassador Michele Jeanne Sison – Deputy Representative of the United States to the United Nations, with the rank of Ambassador, and Deputy Representative of the United States in the Security Council of the United Nations
  • Margaret Ann Uyehara – Ambassador to Montenegro, Department of State
  • James Peter Zumwalt – Ambassador to the Republic of Senegal and the Republic of Guinea Bissau, Department of State

President Obama said, “These dedicated individuals bring a wealth of experience and talent to their new roles and I am proud to have them serve in this Administration.  I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come.”

President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, Nominee for Deputy Secretary, Department of Energy

Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall currently serves as Special Assistant to the President and White House Coordinator for Defense Policy, Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction, and Arms Control, a position she has held since 2013.  Dr. Sherwood-Randall served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council from 2009 to 2013.  Prior to joining the White House, she was a Stanford University Senior Research Scholar from 2000 to 2008, and from 2004 to 2008 she was also the Adjunct Senior Fellow for Alliance Relations at the Council on Foreign Relations.  From 1997 through 2008, she was a Founding Principal in the Harvard-Stanford Preventive Defense Project.  From 1994 to 1996, she served at the Pentagon as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia, for which she received the Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service.  From 1990 to 1993, Dr. Sherwood-Randall was Co-Founder and Associate Director of the Harvard Strengthening Democratic Institutions Project at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.  From 1986 to 1987, she served as Chief Foreign Affairs and Defense Policy Advisor to then Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr.  Dr. Sherwood-Randall received a B.A. from Harvard University and a doctorate from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar.

Jess L. Baily, Nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia, Department of State

Jess L. Baily, a career member of the Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, is the Deputy Chief of Mission in Ankara, Turkey, a position he has held since 2011.  From 2010 to 2011, Mr. Baily served at the Department of State as Director of the Office of Southeast European Affairs.  From 2008 to 2010, Mr. Baily served as Director of the Office of United Nations Political Affairs and previously served as Leader of the Regional Reconstruction Team in Erbil, Iraq from 2007 to 2008.  Mr. Baily served as the Director of the Washington Foreign Press Center from 2005 to 2007 and as Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in The Hague, Netherlands from 2002 to 2005.  From 1998 to 2002, he served as a Cultural Affairs Officer and subsequently as an Information Officer/Spokesman at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara.  Before the United States Information Agency (USIA) merged with the Department of State, Mr. Baily served as USIA’s Representative to the American Foreign Service Association in Washington, D.C. from 1996 to 1997.  He was a Senior Advisor in the Office of the USIA Deputy Director from 1995 to 1996 and USIA Desk Officer for Francophone West Africa from 1994 to 1995.  From 1992 to 1994, Mr. Baily served as the Binational Center Director at the U.S Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand.  He also served at U.S. Embassies in Dakar, Senegal and Dhaka, Bangladesh.  Before joining the Foreign Service in 1985, he worked at AMIDEAST in Washington, D.C.  Mr. Baily received a B.A. from Yale University and an M.A. from Columbia University.

Judith Beth Cefkin, Nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of the Fiji Islands, the Republic of Kiribati, the Republic of Nauru, the Kingdom of Tonga, and Tuvalu, Department of State

Judith Beth Cefkin, a career member of the Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, is the Senior Advisor for Burma in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the Department of State, a position she has held since 2013.  From 2010 to 2013, Ms. Cefkin served as Deputy Chief of Mission in Bangkok, Thailand.  Ms. Cefkin served as an Assessor on the Board of Examiners at the Department of State from 2009 to 2010, and she was the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina from 2006 to 2009.  Ms. Cefkin was the Director of the Office of Nordic-Baltic Affairs at the Department of State from 2003 to 2005, and she was the Deputy Director of the Office of Western European Affairs at the Department of State from 2001 to 2003.  From 1998 to 2001, Ms. Cefkin served as a Deputy Political Counselor and then Political Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines.  She was a Political Officer in the Office of European Union Affairs at the Department of State from 1996 to 1998.  Ms. Cefkin was a Political Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, France from 1993 to 1996.  Earlier in her career, she served as Ambassador’s Aide and Political Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok; Regional-Affairs Officer in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs at the Department of State; Desk Officer for Rwanda, Burundi and the Central African Republic; and Vice Consul at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, Mexico.  Ms. Cefkin received a B.A. from Smith College and an M.S. from The London School of Economics and Political Science.

Robert Francis Cekuta, Nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of Azerbaijan, Department of State

Robert Francis Cekuta, a career member of the Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Energy Resources at the Department of State, a position he has held since 2011.  From 2010 to 2011, Mr. Cekuta served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy, Sanctions, and Commodities in the Bureau of Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs at the Department of State.  In 2010, he was the Senior Advisor for Food Security in the Bureau of Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs.  From 2009 to 2010, Mr. Cekuta was the Senior Deputy Coordinating Director for Economic and Development Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan and served as the Minister-Counselor for Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan from 2007 to 2009.  From 2003 to 2007, he was the Minister-Counselor for Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, Germany.  Mr. Cekuta was Director of the Iraq Economic Group in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs at the Department of State from 2002 to 2003.  In 2002, he was also a Special Negotiator for Biotechnology in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.  From 2000 to 2002, he was Director of Economic Policy Analysis and Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.  From 1999 to 2000, Mr. Cekuta served as a Senior Advisor in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.  Mr. Cekuta was the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tirana, Albania from 1996 to 1999.  Earlier in his career, Mr. Cekuta directed a Kosovo task force and served in the Bureau of Near East and South Asian Affairs.  He also served at U.S. Missions in Vienna, Austria; Baghdad, Iraq; Johannesburg, South Africa; and Sana’a, Yemen.  Mr. Cekuta received a B.S. from Georgetown University, an M.A. from the Thunderbird School of Global Management, and an M.A. from the National Defense University.

S. Fitzgerald Haney, Nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of Costa Rica, Department of State

S. Fitzgerald Haney is a Principal and the Head of Business Development and Client Service (Europe, Middle East and Africa) at Pzena Investment Management, a position he has held since 2007.  Mr. Haney has also served as a Member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council since 2013.  From 2006 to 2007, Mr. Haney served as Senior Vice President of Ethnic Consumer Products at International Discount Telecommunications (IDT).  From 2002 to 2006, Mr. Haney served as Director of Strategic Planning/New Business at Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation.  From 1999 to 2001, Mr. Haney was a Senior Associate at Israel Seed Partners in Jerusalem, Israel.  He was Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Planning at Citicorp/Citibank in Mexico City and Monterrey, Mexico from 1997 to 1999.  From 1993 to 1997, Mr. Haney held various positions with PepsiCo Restaurants International, including Marketing Director in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Senior Marketing Manager for Mexico and Central America in Mexico City, Mexico, and Marketing Manager in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  From 1991 to 1993, Mr. Haney was an Assistant Brand Manager at Procter and Gamble in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  He previously served as an appointed Member of the City of Englewood Planning Board and Board of Adjustment in Englewood, New Jersey.  Mr. Haney received a B.S. and an M.S. from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.

Ambassador Michele Jeanne Sison, Nominee for Deputy Representative of the United States to the United Nations, with the rank of Ambassador, and Deputy Representative of the United States in the Security Council of the United Nations

Ambassador Michele Jeanne Sison, a career member of the Foreign Service, Class of Career-Minister, is the U.S. Ambassador to the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Republic of Maldives, a position she has held since 2012.  From 2011 to 2012, Ambassador Sison was Assistant Chief of Mission in Baghdad, Iraq.  From 2008 to 2010, Ambassador Sison served as Ambassador to the Republic of Lebanon, and from 2004 to 2008, as Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates.  Ambassador Sison served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of South Asian Affairs at the Department of State from 2002 to 2004.  Ambassador Sison previously served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan; Consul General in Chennai, India; Consul General in Douala, Cameroon; and Director of Career Development and Assignments in the Bureau of Human Resources at the Department of State.  She also held positions at the U.S. Embassies in Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Togo, and Haiti.  Ambassador Sison received a B.A. from Wellesley College. 

Margaret Ann Uyehara, Nominee for Ambassador to Montenegro, Department of State

Margaret Ann Uyehara, a career member of the Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, is the Executive Director of the Bureaus of European and Eurasian Affairs and International Organization Affairs at the Department of State, positions she has held since 2012.  From 2010 to 2012, Ms. Uyehara served as the Management Counselor for the Department of State at the U.S. Tri-Missions in Vienna, Austria.  She was the Director of the Regional Support Center at the U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt, Germany from 2008 to 2010.  Ms. Uyehara was a Management Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine from 2006 to 2008, and served as the Director of the Office of Allowances at the Department of State from 2002 to 2005.  From 1999 to 2002, she was a Supervisory General Services Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia.  From 1998 to 1999, Ms. Uyehara was the Liaison to the National Security Council for the 50th Anniversary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Summit, and from 1995 to 1998 she was the Chief of Special Consular Services at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan.  From 1991 to 1993, Ms. Uyehara served as a General Services Officer in the Bureau of Personnel and was a U.S. Disbursing Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines from 1989 to 1991.  From 1985 to 1987, Ms. Uyehara was a Consular Officer at the U.S. Embassy in London, United Kingdom, and was a General Services Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Bamako, Mali from 1983 to 1984.  Ms. Uyehara received a B.A. from Kalamazoo College.

James Peter Zumwalt, Nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of Senegal and the Republic of Guinea Bissau, Department of State

James Peter Zumwalt, a career member of the Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, is Deputy Assistant Secretary for Japan and Korea in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the Department of State, a position he has held since 2012.  Mr. Zumwalt served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan from 2008 to 2011.  From 2006 to 2008, he served as the Director of the Office of Japanese Affairs at the Department of State and from 2002 to 2006, he served as an Economic Minister and as an Economic Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.  Mr. Zumwalt served as an Economic Counselor and as an Economic Minister-Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China from 1999 to 2002.  From 1994 to 1996, he was Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs at the Department of State and from 1993 to 1994, he was the Economic Unit Chief in the Office of Korean Affairs at the Department of State.  Mr. Zumwalt was an Economic Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo from 1989 to 1993 and served as the Political Officer in the Office of Philippine Affairs from 1987 to 1989.  He was Staff Assistant in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs from 1986 to 1987.  In 1986, Mr. Zumwalt was assigned to the Office of Japan and China at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.  He also served as Vice Consul at the U.S. Consulate General in Osaka-Kobe, Japan and as the Economic Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa, Zaire.  Mr. Zumwalt received a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.S. from the National War College.