And then there was one

It’s not surprising that now that HRC is confirmed as SecState that the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs gets much-deserved attention.WaPo’s Al Kamen let’s the word out on the top name in the game for Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, a name that’s been in play for a while.

Official Washington is abuzz with word that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is poised to tap a longtime friend and Democratic mega-donor as her undersecretary for public diplomacy. Judith A. McHale, one of the area’s most prominent female executives, who stepped down in 2006 as president of Discovery Communications, may take a job that has been especially difficult given Washington’s reputation abroad.

Her résumé doesn’t reflect an excess of diplomatic experience, but we’re reminded that this is a job that involves selling a message.

Kamen goes on about McHale’s fundraising, but the last sentence is the highlight. I’m not sure who is informing Kamen about the job, but he needs new advisors. I expect McHale won’t show the same ignorance of the purpose of public diplomacy.

See Clinton’s view of public diplomacy in her written answers to Senators Kerry and Lugar. See also my criteria for the Under Secretary.


Ms. McHale is the Managing Partner of the GEF/Africa Growth Fund, a private equity investment fund focused on making investments in the consumer goods and services sector in Africa. Prior to launching the fund, Ms. McHale served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Discovery Communications, Inc., the parent company of cable television’s Discovery Channel, from June 2004 through November 2006. She previously served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Discovery Communications from 1995 until June 2004 and served as Executive Vice President and General Counsel from 1989 to 1995. Ms. McHale is a Director of Polo/Ralph Lauren Corporation. Ms. McHale also serves on the boards of the Sister-to-Sister Everyone has a Heart Foundation, Vital Voices Global Partnership and the Africa Society.

2 thoughts on “And then there was one

  1. Egad. I don’t know anything about Ms. McHale’s PD experience, but appointing a “mega-donor” doesn’t look very good, and doesn’t seem in keeping with Obama’s position-filling methodology. Her mostly corporate and MSM resume makes me worry that we could be looking at a Charlotte Beers 2.0 here. I hope that’s not the case…

  2. Why is it out of the question to get an experienced PD professional to serve in this job? There has to be one out there. If the Obama Administration goes down the road of appointing another marketing or public relations executive, its repeating a familiar mistake.

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