Thomas Nides, a former official in the US State Department who currently is a managing director at Morgan Stanley, is likely to be chosen as the US ambassador to Israel, according to multiple news reports.
In addition to serving as deputy secretary of state for management and resources under former President Barack Obama, Nides has connections to several high-ranking officials in the Biden administration. He also would bring private-sector experience to the job.
US President Joe Biden is expected to name his envoy to Israel in the coming weeks. The nomination and confirmation process could take several more weeks after that, however. In the meantime, the State Department reportedly will send Michael Ratney, a former deputy assistant secretary of state for Israeli and Palestinian affairs and consul general in Jerusalem during the Obama administration, in an interim capacity.
Nides is no stranger to Washington. He was chief of staff for the majority whip of the US House of Representatives, Tony Coelho, D-Calif., from 1986 to 1989, and then chief of staff for House Speaker Thomas Foley until 1993. He also was chief of staff for US Trade Representative Mickey Kantor. He served as campaign manager for Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman in 2000.
President Barack Obama nominated Nides to his deputy secretary of state position, which he held for two years. He has had a long-time relationship with Obama, as well as Biden. Nides raised at least $100,000 for Biden’s presidential campaign, according to Politico. He reportedly was slated to become White House chief of staff for Hillary Clinton had she defeated Donald Trump in the 2016 election.
During his tenure in the Obama administration, Nides worked as part of the team that led to the Obama administration’s approval of a $38 million, 10-year loan guarantee package for Israel. He also worked to thwart an effort by some lawmakers to limit US support for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees and for UNESCO.
Nides became managing director and vice chairman of Morgan Stanley in March 2013, after previously serving as its COO from 2005 to 2010.
Nides, who was born in Duluth, Minn. and who is Jewish, is married to Virginia Carpenter Moseley, CNN’s senior vice president of newsgathering in the US.
Several other names had been discussed to fill the Israel ambassador position, most recently former Florida Congressman Robert Wexler, who currently heads the Washington-based S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace. Biden campaign donor and Morgan Stanley executive Michael Adler and former US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro also were reported to have been under consideration for the job.
The ambassadorship to Israel is a very high-profile job in any US administration and it has garnered even more notice in recent days due to the fighting between Hamas and Israel, which ended early Friday with a bilateral cease-fire.