David C. Mulford was nominated by President Bush to be the United States ambassador to India on November 13, 2003. He was confirmed by the Senate on December 9 and was officially sworn in on January 23, 2004. Mulford also served as the US government’s informal contact with Bhutan, with which the United States does not have formal diplomatic relations.
Mulford received a BA in economics, cum laude, from Lawrence University in Appleton, WI (1959), an MA in political science from Boston University (1962) and a Doctor of Philosophy degree (D.Phil.) from Oxford University (1966).
Mulford served as a special assistant to the secretary and under secretary of the treasury as a White House Fellow (1965 to 1966) in the first year of the White House Fellowship Program.
He was then a managing director and head of international finance at the investment bank of White, Weld & Co., Inc., with responsibility for coordinating efforts with Credit Suisse on international financial business (1966 to 1974). During this period, he was seconded to the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), where he served as senior investment advisor (1974 to 1983). His responsibilities included managing the investment of Saudi oil revenues and developing a comprehensive investment program for SAMA.
Mulford was under secretary and assistant secretary of the US Treasury for international affairs during the period 1984 to 1992. He served as the senior international economic policy official at the Treasury under Secretaries Donald Regan, James Baker and Nicholas Brady. Among Mulford’s responsibilities and accomplishments at the Treasury Department were: US Deputy for coordination of economic policies with other G-7 industrial nations; head of the administration’s Yen/Dollar negotiations with Japan; the administration’s senior advisor on financial assistance to Russia and other states of the former Soviet Union; leadership of the administration’s international debt strategy, and the development and implementation of the Baker/Brady Plans and President George H. W. Bush’s Enterprise Initiative for the Americas. Mulford also led both the US Delegation to negotiate the establishment of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, as well as the G-7 negotiations to reduce Poland’s official bilateral debt.
Before being nominated as the US Ambassador to India, Mulford served as chairman international of Credit Suisse First Boston, based in London. From 1992 to 2003, he was responsible for leading Credit Suisse First Boston's worldwide, large-scale privatization business and other corporate and government advisory assignments.
Mulford is also a generous supporter of the Republican Party. From 1996 to 2000, he donated more than $200,000 to the Republican National Committee. He has also donated to individual GOP candidates, including George W. Bush and John McCain.
Mulford’s appointment as ambassador to India garnered a mixed reaction. Some questioned his credentials for the job and his clout within the Bush Administration. Observers also questioned his temperament. “Mulford’s combination of Wall Street bluff and political skills has earned him a reputation as a blunt and determined practitioner, one who has been known to upset bankers and government officials,” according to one profile. Media reports have described him as “aggressive” and “abrasive” with a “fiery temper.”
Another assessment of Mulford called him the “godfather of the infamous debt swap that led to Argentina defaulting on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of debt in 2002.”