US president Joe Biden has nominated Michael Adler as the new US ambassador to Belgium. Adler is a 70-year-old property magnate from Florida.
“The relationship between the United States and Belgium is one of close friends and NATO allies,” Adler said in a statement.
“If confirmed in this important role, I will work hard to further strengthen the strong ties between our governments and our peoples as we continue to work together on the full range of global challenges.”
Unlike his European counterparts, who tend to send career diplomats, the US usually appoints businesspeople to its main embassies, often as a reward for services rendered.
Adler is president and CEO of Adler Group, whose own website describes it as “an aggressive, multi-profile real estate firm with individual entities and affiliates offering services in such areas as development, general contracting, real estate brokerage, leasing and property management.” The group has more than 10,000 rental apartments as well as commercial space, mainly in South Florida.
“I want to help him where he feels I can do the best, and certainly ambassador is potentially one of those,” Adler said. “I would be very excited and honoured if that’s the particular position.”
The two first met in 1973 when Adler’s sister was working in Biden’s office. When the then-senator Biden first ran for president in 2008, Adler was his campaign finance chair where he showed a talent for roping in business cash. In the 2020 campaign, Adler was his surrogate in Florida.