U.S. President Joe Biden announced Tuesday that he has tapped former deputy secretary of state Thomas Nides as the next American ambassador to Israel.
The Associated Press reported in May that Nides had already been formally offered the position. Placing an ambassador in Israel had become a high priority for the Biden administration after last month’s 11-day war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
The official nomination came two days after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was sworn in, replacing Benjamin Netanyahu after 12 years.
Israeli officials had expressed concern following Biden’s inauguration in January that he was slow to name his envoy and to reach out to Netanyahu, who was openly close to former president Donald Trump.
Biden spoke to Netanyahu for the first time about four weeks after his inauguration, but called Bennett just hours after he took office.
In addition to serving as deputy secretary of state for management and resources under former president Barack Obama, Nides has connections at the highest levels of Democratic Party.
During his tenure in the Obama administration, Nides worked as part of the team that led to the approval of a $38 million, 10-year loan guarantee package for Israel.
He also worked to thwart an effort by some lawmakers to limit U.S. support for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees and for UNESCO.
His latest position as managing director and vice chairman of Morgan Stanley investment bank mean he brings private-sector experience to the job.
Nides is no stranger to Washington. He was chief of staff for the majority whip of the U.S. House of Representatives, Democrat Tony Coelho, from 1986 to 1989, and then chief of staff for House Speaker Thomas Foley until 1993.
He also served as campaign manager for Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman in 2000.
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.
Nides became managing director and vice chairman of Morgan Stanley in March 2013, after previously serving as its COO from 2005 to 2010.
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.
Former U.S. ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro was also reported to have been under consideration for the job.
The Media Line contributed to this report