The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts
WASHINGTON – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:
- Arnold A. Chacon, Ambassador to the Republic of Guatemala, Department of State
- Christopher Merrill, Member, National Council on the Humanities
- Earl Anthony Wayne, Ambassador to the United Mexican States, Department of State
- Rebecca R. Wodder, Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife, Department of the Interior
The President also announced his intent to appoint Giselle Fernandez to the Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Her biography can be found below.
President Obama said, “Our nation will be greatly served by the talent and expertise these individuals bring to their new roles. I am grateful they have agreed to serve in this Administration, and I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.”
President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:
Arnold A. Chacon, Nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of Guatemala, Department of State
Arnold A. Chacon, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, is currently the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy in Madrid. Prior to this assignment, Mr. Chacon served as Director of Andean Affairs in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs and Deputy Executive Secretary in the Department’s Executive Secretariat. Since beginning his diplomatic career in 1981, Mr. Chacon has served in a number of overseas posts including Deputy Chief of Mission in Ecuador, Political Counselor in Peru, Political Officer in Italy and Chile, Staff Assistant to the Chief of Mission in Mexico, and Political/Consular Officer in Honduras. Mr. Chacon also served as Deputy Director of Central American Affairs, Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Italy Desk Officer, Political Advisor at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, Watch Officer in the Operations Center, and American Political Science Association Fellow. Mr. Chacon received a B.A. in International Affairs from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Christopher Merrill, Nominee for Member, National Council on the Humanities
Christopher Merrill is an American poet, essayist, journalist and translator. Currently, he serves as director of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. Prior to joining the University of Iowa, Mr. Merrill held the William H. Jenks Chair in Contemporary Letters at the College of Holy Cross. He has published four collections of poetry, including Watch Fire, for which he received the Peter I. B. Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets. He has also published numerous translations, several edited volumes, and four books of nonfiction. For ten years he was the book critic for the daily radio news program “The World.” In 2008, Mr. Merrill led the initiative that resulted in the selection of Iowa City as a UNESCO City of Literature, a part of the Creative Cities Network. He received a B.A. from Middlebury College and an M.A. from the University of Washington.
Earl Anthony Wayne, Nominee for Ambassador to the United Mexican States, Department of State
Ambassador Earl Anthony Wayne is currently the Deputy Ambassador to Afghanistan. A member of the U.S. Foreign Service since 1975 and a confirmed “Career Ambassador,” he has had an extensive diplomatic career. Ambassador Wayne began working in Afghanistan in 2009 as the Coordinating Director for Development and Economic Affairs. From 2006 to 2009 Ambassador Wayne served as U.S. Ambassador to Argentina. He was the Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs from 2000 to 2006. His other positions include: Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of European Affairs, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Europe and Canada, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Mission to the European Union, Director for Western European Affairs at the National Security Council, and Director of Regional Affairs for the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Counter-Terrorism. He took a leave of absence and worked as the National Security Correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor from 1987 to 1989. Additional assignments at State include: First Secretary at U.S. Embassy Paris, Special Assistant to Secretaries of State Haig and Shultz, service in the State Department’s Executive Secretariat, Political Officer in Morocco, and China analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. He holds an M.P.A. from Harvard University, an M.A. from Princeton University, an M.A. from Stanford University, and a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley.
Rebecca R. Wodder, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife, Department of the Interior
Rebecca Wodder has served as President and CEO of American Rivers, a national river conservation organization, since 1995. From 1981 to 1994, Ms. Wodder served in several different capacities at The Wilderness Society, including Vice President for Organizational Development and Vice President for Membership, Marketing and Development. From 1978-1980, Ms. Wodder was Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson on environmental and energy issues. Ms. Wodder began her career as an Environmental Planner for the Leo A. Daly Company, Architects, Engineers and Planners. In 2010, she was recognized as a Top 25 Outstanding Conservationist by Outdoor Life Magazine, and was named Woman of the Year by the American Sportfishing Association in 1998. Ms. Wodder holds a B.A. in Biology and a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of Kansas. She also holds an M.S. in Landscape Architecture and an M.S. in Water Resources Management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
President Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individual to a key Administration post:
Giselle Fernandez, Appointee for Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Giselle Fernandez is the Managing Director of Creative World Talent Management, a division of the Trump Group. Among her numerous posts in journalism, Ms. Fernandez anchored NBC's weekend edition of the Today Show and Sunday edition of the NBC Nightly News. Prior to that, Ms. Fernandez served at CBS News substituting for Paula Zahn on CBS This Morning, Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News and Connie Chung on the CBS Weekend News. Her coverage of international news stories and interviews with global leaders earned Ms. Fernandez five Emmy Awards. She is a member of the board of trustees of the Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the board of the Los Angeles Centre for Dance Arts, and also sits on the board of Latina magazine. The California Legislative Hispanic Caucus awarded Ms. Fernandez the Latino Spirit Award and she was awarded the Nancy Riordan award in 2007 by Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Ms. Fernandez graduated from Sacramento State University with a B.A. in Journalism and Government.