The Honorable Lyndon L. Olson, Jr., former United States Ambassador to the Kingdom of Sweden, today serves as chairman of Hill & Knowlton in New York City.
Appointed by President Clinton, Ambassador Olson served in Sweden from 1997 to 2001. In recognition of his achievements during his tenure, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden in 2002 presented him with the Swedish-American of the Year Award. He was also awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 2001. The recipient of an honorary doctorate from Sweden's Umea University, Mr. Olson continues his affiliation with the country having served as the chairman and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce and is a trustee of the American Scandinavian Foundation, both in New York City. In 2007, Mr. Olson was also presented the esteemed Order of the Polar Star by the King and Queen of Sweden. The Order of the Polar Star is a Swedish Royal order of chivalry created by King Frederick I of Sweden and is intended as a reward for foreign civic merits, for devotion to duty, for science, literary, learned and useful works and for new and beneficial institutions.
Mr. Olson presently serves as a Commissioner and vice chairman of the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy having been appointed by President George W. Bush.
From 2002 to 2008, Mr. Olson rejoined Citigroup Inc. as a senior advisor to the chairman where he served as a consultant to the senior management of this global financial services company on a wide range of subjects, including insurance and reinsurance matters, international trade, regulatory issues, and government affairs.
Mr. Olson has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in the insurance industry. During his previous affiliation with Citigroup from 1990 to 1998, he was president and chief executive officer of Travelers Insurance Holdings and the Associated Madison Companies, predecessor companies. In his role, he served on the boards and executive committees of various corporate subsidiaries, including the Transport Life, Primerica Life, Gulf Property and Casualty, and National Benefit Life Insurance Companies, and was vice chairman of Primerica Financial Services. Prior to joining Citigroup, he had been president of the National Group Corporation and chief executive officer of its National Group Insurance Company as well as a director and member of the Executive Committee at National Financial Life and American Income Life Insurance Companies.
From 1979 to 1987, Mr. Olson was Chairman and a Member of the Texas State Board of Insurance and in 1982 served as President of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. During the decade of the 1980s, he participated in numerous industry-related conferences, including several United Nations conferences on Trade and Development. Mr. Olson is a recipient of the Gates of Jerusalem Award from the State of Israel and serves on the Board of the Jerusalem Foundation. In addition, he was on the International Board of Advisors for the Institute for Social and Economic Policy in the Middle East at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
A native of Waco, Texas and former member of the Texas House of Representatives, Mr. Olson has demonstrated a long commitment to a host of civic, political, cultural and philanthropic organizations in the state. A member of the Philosophical Society of Texas, and a Trustee of the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Austin, Texas; additionally, he is Vice Chairman and on the Board of the Lyndon B. Johnson Foundation, a member of the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation and is Chairman and Trustee of the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas. Mr. Olson is a 33rd degree Scottish Rite Mason. In 2007, he was awarded the prestigious Anson Jones Award by the Fort Worth Scottish Rite Foundation for his humanitarian endeavors and outstanding citizenship. He is on the Board of Trustees of the Baylor College of Medicine. Over the years, he has served as Chairman of the Texas Mental Health Association, the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association, the Lyceum Association, the Association of Fire and Casualty Companies of Texas, the Texas Opera Theatre and the Texas Arts Alliance and the Waco Texas Chamber of Commerce. He is a former member of the Executive Committees of the Texas Association of Businesses and Chambers of Commerce, the Houston Grand Opera, the Lyric Opera and the Symphony of Austin, and the Symphony and the Art Center of Waco. Both the Texas Municipal League and the Texas Medical Association have conferred on Mr. Olson their Distinguished Public Official Awards.
Mr. Olson is a graduate of Baylor University and attended Baylor Law School. He is a past president of the university's alumni association, has served on the Board of Visitors of its School of Business and School of Music, and was on the Board of Visitors of Yale University's Music School. In 1999, he received Baylor University's Distinguished Alumni Award and in 2002 its Price Daniel Distinguished Public Service Award. Born in 1947, Mr. Olson is an active member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Council of American Ambassadors. He is an elder in the Central Presbyterian Church in Waco, Texas.