Clifford M. Sobel
Ambassador Clifford M. Sobel was sworn in by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Justice Antolin Scalia as the United States Ambassador to the Federative Republic of Brazil on July 20, 2006. Ambassador Sobel also served as the 62nd United States Ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands from 2001 ý 2005. During that time he championed the implementation of many pilot programs in our war on terrorism, including the first agreement on CSI (Container Security Initiative). He worked with the Netherlands on the first joint European American conference on innovation for the 21st Century, a new tax treaty, and negotiated a cooperative HIV Aids Program in Africa. In 2004, his contribution to the high tech community in the Netherlands was recognized by the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sectors when he was named the ICT personality of the year.
After serving in the Netherlands, Ambassador Sobel was on the Board of Directors of Aegon (NYSE AEG) and AlpInvest, the largest global private equity fund. He also served on the Advisory Committee for EUCOM, the Military Commander Advisory Board for Europe and Africa, the NATO Mentors Board, and The Millennium Promise Board of Directors, a not for profit organization supporting the United Nations Millennium Goals.
Ambassador Sobel's career has been noteworthy for its wide experience in the business world, as well as its diversity, and his community and philanthropic service. Prior to his becoming United States Ambassador to the Netherlands, Clifford Sobel was Chairman of Net2Phone, Inc., a public company at that time listed on the NASDAQ and the largest provider of Internet telephone service, marketing a broad range of enhanced Internet communication applications.
Ambassador Sobel was also Chairman and President of SJJ Investment Corporation and CMS Realty Company, where he was responsible for investment decisions in a wide variety of areas. He was chairman of the Sobel Foundation, which contributed to numerous charities, many supporting children in need. From 1985 ý 1991, he was a founder and board member of Norcrown Bank of Roseland, New Jersey. During the 1970s and 80s, he founded and later became Chairman of several companies that designed, manufactured and imported fixtures for retail interiors and themed environments, such as Disney or Warner Brothers.
By Presidential appointment, Clifford Sobel served on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council in Washington, D.C. from 1994 to 1998. He was on the board of the Lexington Institute and chairman of the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, which are public policy think tanks focused on education reform, national security, deregulation, corporate governance and tax rate reduction. Ambassador Sobel was also on the advisory boards of Empower America and Business Executives for National Security (BENS). He was asked to testify before Congress on fast-track international trade treaties and from 1993 to 1997, he served as a Secretary of Defense appointment to the Board of Visitors of the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, California.
In his home state of New Jersey, Ambassador Sobel is a member of the Board of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and served on the executive committees of Prosperity New Jersey, a state committee for the growth of New Jersey, and of the United Jewish Federation of Metrowest NJ.
Ambassador Sobel attended the University of Vermont and graduated with honors from New York Universityýs School of Business. In 1999, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Law degree from Kean University, New Jersey, in recognition of his public service contribution.