Michael L. Retzer

Ambassador Retzer was sworn in by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as United States Ambassador to the United Republic of Tanzania on August 24, 2005, and presented his credentials to President Benjamin Mkapa in Dar Es Salaam on September 1, 2005. He served in that position until September 2007.

Ambassador Retzer’s career reflects considerable experience in several fields. He has served as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force. He has developed a thriving restaurant chain in 42 locations in Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana which employs over 2,400 people, and also serves on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the Planters Bank of Mississippi.
He is a leader in the McDonald’s Franchisee Community. He currently serves as the chairman of the Regional Operators Association (ROA), which represents over 100 McDonald owners operating over 700 restaurants in 8 states located in the mid-south.

Ambassador Retzer has enjoyed an active political career. Since 1978, he has been elected multiple times as Chairman of the Mississippi Republican Party. In 2000, he was elected as chairman of the Southern Republican Chairman Association which is composed of Party Leaders for 13 southern states. In 2004, he was elected Treasurer of the Republican National Convention in New York City. Additionally, he was elected Republican National Committeeman for Mississippi in 2001 and Treasurer of the National Republican Party in 2002 and served in that position until 2005.

In his hometown of Greenville, Mississippi, Ambassador Retzer has contributed to community growth by serving in several civic organizations, including the Chamber of Commerce, the Washington County Industrial Foundation, and the South Delta Planning Council. He was a founding member of Delta Wildlife Foundation and the Mississippi Wildlife Foundation. He has also served as a trustee for the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C.

Ambassador Retzer received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the Honors College at the University of Oregon with a major in Finance and Marketing. He has two children, a daughter, Kathryn, born in 1976 and a son, Michael Jr., born in 1982.

Ambassadorial Post(s)

Tanzania, (2005 - 2007)

Areas of Expertise