Bill Hagerty confirmation hearing set for May 18

5/4/2017

A Senate committee has scheduled a confirmation hearing for May 18 to consider Nashville businessman Bill Hagerty’s nomination to become ambassador to Japan.

Hagerty will appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Bob Corker, R-Chattanooga.

“Japan is one of our most critical allies, and I could not imagine a more effective person in this role as the next ambassador of Japan,” Corker said when President Donald Trump nominated Hagerty for the position in March.

“I have worked alongside Bill to negotiate significant foreign direct investment that has generated positive, material impact on the lives of thousands of people and in our economy,” Corker said at the time. “He is a highly competent leader with exceptional negotiating skills that will serve America’s interests and our relationship with the Japanese people well.”

If he’s confirmed, Hagerty will replace Caroline Kennedy, who served as ambassador to Japan under former President Barack Obama.

The appointment will bring Hagerty — a private equity investor who has held a key position in Trump’s transition — to a country where he has strong ties, having lived and worked there in the past.

Hagerty, 57, served as commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development under Gov. Bill Haslam from 2011 to 2014. In that time, he helped orchestrate multiple business deals between the state and Japanese companies, including Bridgestone Americas, Calsonic Kansei North America Inc. and Nissan North America.

Previously in the private sector, Hagerty spent time in Tokyo for three years while with the Boston Consulting Group, a business consulting firm. There, he was senior expatriate responsible for managing Boston Consulting’s western clients in Japan and elsewhere in Asia.

If confirmed by the Senate, Hagerty would become the third Tennessean to serve in the post. Former U.S. Sen. Howard Baker, R-Tenn., who died in 2014, was ambassador to Japan under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005. Luke Edward White, who was born in Giles County, served in the post from 1906 to 1907 under President Teddy Roosevelt.

Source: Knoxville News Sentinel, by Michael Collins

The East Tennessee Economic Development Agency markets and recruits business for the 15 counties in the greater Knoxville-Oak Ridge region of East Tennessee. Visit www.eteda.org

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