Back to Officials Back to United Kingdom


Name: Barzun, Matthew
Current Position: Previous Ambassador

What Matthew W. Barzun lacks in terms of diplomatic experience, or knowledge about Sweden, he makes up with having supported President Barack Obama’s election—to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. The former CNET executive was one of Obama’s key bundlers, helping to funnel at least $500,000 towards the campaign. He was sworn in as U.S. ambassador to Sweden August 12, 2009.

Born on October 23, 1970, in New York City, Barzun grew up in Lincoln, Massachusetts, and attended the St. Paul’s School private academy in New Hampshire. He went to college at Harvard, during which he spent a summer internship working in the office of U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-Massachusetts). He received his bachelor’s degree in history and literature, magna cum laude, in 1993.
After graduating from Harvard, Barzun joined the fledgling CNET as the company’s fourth employee. He spent the next decade rising up through the growing Internet business. In 1995 he was promoted to Vice President of Software Services, where he led the acquisition of the Virtual Software Library, a library of downloadable software. He was in charge of launching CNET’s service, and he became senior vice president in 1998.
The following year he married his wife, Brooke Brown, and in 2000, he was promoted again, to chief strategy officer. He remained at CNET until 2004, when he left to start his own consulting company, Brickpath LLC, which advises Internet media companies.
That same year Barzun helped raise money for John Kerry’s 2004 presidential bid.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barzun joined Obama’s National Finance Committee. He raised more than half a million dollars for Obama, according to, and he donated $4,600 of his own money. He also contributed $25,000 to Obama’s inauguration fund. Barzun and his family contributed more than $290,000 to political campaigns and groups during the 2008 election cycle.
Barzun has served on the boards of many non-profits with a focus on education (the Louisville Free Public Library Foundation, Louisville Public Media, and Teach Kentucky); public policy (the Kentucky Long Term Policy Research Center, and The Greater Louisville Project) and interfaith relations (Center for Interfaith Relations).
Barzun and his wife have three children.
Official Biography (State Department)
Bookmark and Share