John B. Emerson rejoined the Capital Group in May 2017 as Vice Chairman of Capital International, Inc., following a four year leave to serve as the United States Ambassador to Germany. Appointed by President Obama he served as Ambassador from 2013 to 2017. In 2015, Mr. Emerson was the recipient of the State Department’s Susan M. Cobb Award for Exemplary Diplomatic Service, which is given annually to a non-career Ambassador who has used private sector leadership and management skills to make a significant impact on bilateral or multilateral relations through proactive diplomacy. In 2017, he was awarded the CIA Medal and the U.S. Navy ‘s Distinguished Public Service awards.
Prior to becoming ambassador, Mr. Emerson served as President of Capital Group’s Private Client Services (1997-2013), and as a member of President Clinton’s senior staff (1993 to 1997), initially as Deputy Director of Presidential Personnel and subsequently as Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, where he was the President’s liaison to the nation’s governors. Emerson was particularly noted for his work as the president’s chief liaison in dealing with California issues, including the aftermath of the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Mr. Emerson also coordinated the Economic Conference of the Clinton-Gore transition team and led the Administration’s efforts to obtain Congressional approval of the GATT Uruguay Round Agreement in 1994, and the extension of China’s MFN trading status in 1996.
Before joining the Clinton Administration, Mr. Emerson served as Chief Deputy City Attorney for the City of Los Angeles from 1987 to 1993, under City Attorney James K. Hahn. Prior to that, he practiced law with Manatt, Phelps & Phillips from 1978 to 1987 specializing in business and entertainment litigation and administrative law, becoming Partner in 1984.
Mr. Emerson received his bachelor’s degree in Government and Philosophy from Hamilton College in 1975 and earned a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School in 1978. He received an honorary Doctorate of Laws degree from Hamilton College in May 2017.
Mr. Emerson is married to Kimberly Marteau Emerson, an attorney and civic leader. Together they have three grown children. Mr. Emerson has long been active in civic, cultural, and academic affairs in Los Angeles, serving on the board of The Music Center of Los Angeles County (eight years as Chairman), The Metropolitan LA YMCA (Vice Chair), the Pacific Council on International Policy, the American Council on Germany, the German Marshall Fund, and three independent schools.