Charles H. Rivkin began serving as Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs on February 13, 2014, and was sworn in publicly by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on April 15, 2014.
Prior to his appointment, Rivkin served for more than four years as the United States Ambassador to France and Monaco where he led America’s first and one of its largest diplomatic missions, which has six constituent posts throughout France and represents over 50 U.S. government agencies and sections. Rivkin's confirmation marks the first time a U.S. ambassador and former CEO has ever led the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, and he was brought in with a team of business leaders to help fulfill Secretary Kerry’s mandate that economic policy is foreign policy.
Prior to his government service, Ambassador Rivkin worked in the media sector for over 20 years where he served as President and CEO of award-winning entertainment companies such as The Jim Henson Company and Wildbrain. Rivkin helped engineer the sale of The Jim Henson Company in 2000 for nearly $1 billion. His contribution to the television landscape has influenced generations of viewers, and Rivkin was named one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company.
Ambassador Rivkin spent his early childhood in Luxembourg, Senegal, and The Gambia where his father, William R. Rivkin, was the United States Ambassador under Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. In honor of his father, Ambassador Rivkin and his family have proudly presented the U.S. State Department’s annual Rivkin Award, since 1968, encouraging “intellectual courage and constructive dissent” among officers in the U.S. Foreign Service. The award was created in part with the help of Charles Rivkin's godfather, Hubert H. Humphrey.
Ambassador Rivkin received his bachelor's degree from Yale University in 1984, graduating with distinction in political science and international relations. He received his M.B.A. from Harvard University in 1988. In 2013, Ambassador Rivkin was personally awarded the Légion d’honneur with the rank of Commander by French President François Hollande.