U.S. President Joe Biden has picked academic and daughter of a Holocaust survivor, Amy Gutmann, as U.S. ambassador to Germany, sources said on Wednesday.
Gutmann, 71, is currently president of the University of Pennsylvania. Her father Kurt, fled Nazi Germany in 1934 with his parents and four siblings.
In an interview to the Pennsylvania University newspaper in 2013, Gutmann described her family history as having a "profound influence" on her.
“My father had a profound influence on me beyond being a great dad. He was a model of courage and beyond all integrity,” Gutmann said in the interview. “He drove home to me with not so much his words, but with his deeds, what it means to be courageous and how important it is to recognize that individuals can make a very big difference by what they do.
“It’s true that his whole family would have disappeared from the face of the earth had it not been for what he did,” Gutmann told the paper.
Her nomination was handed to German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in mid-June, the German Der Spiegel magazine reported on Wednesday.
German Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Andrea Sasse declined to comment, saying that it was up to the U.S. government to express itself officially on the matter.
"We would of course be happy if an American ambassador were appointed to Germany," Sasse continued at a press conference. "The post has not been filled for some time now and the post of U.S. ambassador to Germany is of enormous importance for bilateral relations," she said.
The appointment would come in the midst of a thaw in German-American relations, after years of tensions under the Trump administration.
If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Gutmann would replace interim appointee Robin Quinville who took over last year from Richard Grenell, a Trump ally who stepped down in June 2020, after little more than two years in the job.
"With Amy Gutmann, Joe Biden is relying on an experienced bridge builder. She is taking on a difficult legacy after Richard Grenell," Johann Wadephul, deputy parliamentary leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative alliance, said.
During his tenure, Grenell accused Germany of undermining NATO's nuclear deterrent and criticized Berlin's involvement in the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia.
The standoff over the pipeline has strained bilateral ties. The Biden administration last month waived sanctions on the company behind it