Ambassador to Canada: Who Is Bruce Heyman?
President Barack Obama has nominated Bruce A. Heyman, a partner in the Chicago office of Wall Street investment bank Goldman Sachs, to be the next U.S. ambassador to Canada. The September 19 announcement ended months of speculation that Heyman, whose name first surfaced in April, had lost interest in the job, been disqualified by his investments, or had been derailed by pipeline politics. Instead, Heyman completed diplomatic “charm school” this summer, and if confirmed by the Senate would succeed fellow bundler David Jacobson, who departed Ottawa at the end of his four-year term in July, leaving the embassy under the care of Chargé d’Affaires Richard Sanders.
Although Heyman has been working with wealthy Canadian clients of Goldman since 2001, his qualifications for nomination were not damaged by the fact that he has been a “mega-bundler” for both of Obama’s presidential runs, helping to raise millions of dollars and serving on Obama’s National Finance Committee in 2012. A longtime Democrat in an industry dominated by Republicans, Heyman has donated more than $180,000 to political causes, most of it to Democratic candidates and organizations, including $96,000 to the Democratic National Committee. He has also donated more than $36,000 to the Goldman Sachs PAC.
Heyman will need to study up for his nomination hearing, because he will almost certainly face questions from Republican senators over the controversial proposal to build the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry tar sands crude oil from Alberta to the Gulf Coast for refining and export. Republicans claim that the pipeline would create jobs, but environmentalists argue that tar sands oil is too heavy in carbon to be used in a rapidly warming planet. The administration is expected to make a decision on whether to allow construction of a 1,179-mile section of the proposed pipeline from Alberta to Nebraska soon.
Born circa 1958, Heyman grew up in Dayton, Ohio, where he shoveled snow and mowed lawns as a boy. He earned a B.A. in Business Administration at Vanderbilt University in 1979 and an MBA there in 1980. During his high school years, Heyman worked as a part-time salesman at Rike's Department Store in Kettering, Ohio, and General Surplus in Dayton, and, as a college student, as a sandwich-maker at Sub Station in Nashville. In the summer of 1979, he worked as a summer researcher for the antitrust and restraint of trade subcommittee of the House of Representatives.
In 1980, Heyman began his long association with the investment banking firm of Goldman Sachs, working as an associate from 1980 to 1985, and as a vice president from 1985 to 1999. As a VP, Heyman also worked as associate regional manager of Goldman’s Chicago private client group from 1997 to 1999. From 1999 to 2000, he was co-head of recruiting for Goldman’s newly created investment management division, leaving that job in 2001 to become regional manager of the Midwest private wealth management group, which covers 13 states and half of Canada. In 2004, he was made a partner of Goldman Sachs, where he still worked when nominated for the ambassadorship.
Bruce Heyman and his wife, Vicki Heyman, live in Chicago. Their son, David, works for JPMorgan Chase.
To Learn More:
Goldman Sachs Partner Learned Value of 'Overcommunication' (by Ann Therese Palmer, Chicago Tribune)
Bruce Heyman Named U.S. Ambassador to Canada (by Susana Mas, CBC News)
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