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Thu 29 Mar 2018 09:39 AM

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Detroit businessman nominated as next US ambassador to the UAE - report

If confirmed, John Rakolta Jr. will replace current US ambassador Barbara Leaf, who left mid-December

Detroit businessman nominated as next US ambassador to the UAE - report

Detroit developer and construction company executive John Rakolta Jr. has been nominated as the next American ambassador to the UAE, according to American media reports.

Rakolta has been the chairman and CEO of Walbridge Aldinger, a Detroit construction firm, since 1993.

If confirmed by the US Senate, Rakolta will replace former US ambassador in Abu Dhabi, Barbara Leaf, who left in mid-December.

According to a report in the Detroit Free Press, Rakolta gave $2,700 to President Donald Trump’s electoral campaign, as well as $250,000 to his inaugural committee in 2017.

Since 2013, he has also given $250,000 to the Republican National Committee, and has also contributed to a number of other Republican politicians including Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and John McCain, in addition to serving as the finance chair for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns.

“He’s been able to reach out to a lot of different people and that’s a perfect skill for an ambassador to have,” the newspaper quoted Dr. Rob Steele, the Republican National Committee’s representative from Michigan, as saying.

“It’s a tough place in the world right now and he’ll be a good steady presence there,” he added.