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As a shy, studious high school student, Stuart Eizenstat says he might have been voted “least likely to go into politics.” But politics and diplomacy have been central to Eizenstat’s career, which has included a stint as U.S. ambassador to the European Union as well as top jobs in the White House and the Treasury, State, and Commerce departments. Now, as head of Covington & Burling’s international practice, the 64-year old Eizenstat draws on his insider’s perspective to assist such clients as BP Plc, British Telecommunications Plc, BAE Systems, and the Coca-Cola Co. with a range of trade and international regulatory issues. “The intersection of law, policy, and politics is the nub of my practice,” Eizenstat says. Kristen Verderame, general counsel of British Telecom division BT Americas Inc., lauds Eizenstat as thoughtful, ethical, and insightful. “He understands policy issues and all the different ramifications,” she says, “and advises on that basis rather than from a single perspective.” Eizenstat sits on the advisory board of BT Americas and counsels on acquisitions in the United States as well as broad strategic issues. He recently provided assistance with the national security review of the company’s 2005 acquisition of Infonet Services Corp. Indeed, he is regarded as an expert on these so-called Exon-Florio reviews, conducted by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. In one particularly complex case, he helped secure CFIUS approval for the 2003 acquisition of bankrupt Global Crossing Ltd. by Singapore Technologies Telemedia. Initially, Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., a holding company run by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-Shing, who has widely reported ties to the Chinese government, planned to join with Singapore Technologies to buy the U.S. company. But CFIUS was concerned the deal could pose a national security risk, given Global Crossing’s extensive network of fiber-optic lines. After a committee investigation, Hutchison Whampoa withdrew its bid and Singapore Technologies alone bought a controlling interest. Other clients for Eizenstat include the Entertainment Software Association, which he represents on issues of video software being debated in the Doha Round of international trade talks. He assists the Bromine Science and Environmental Forum with European Union attempts to limit or ban certain brominated flame-retardant products. And he represents Afton Chemical Corp., which has faced threats to ban its fuel additive MMT from such countries as China, Indonesia, and South Africa. A four-year project on behalf of BP looked at the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which runs from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean. Eizenstat sat on a small panel that prepared reports on the pipeline’s economic, social, political, and environmental aspects. “I believe this panel offers a model for how extractive industries can have the most positive impact on the regions in which they work,” he says. David Meighan, who coordinated the project for BP, calls Eizenstat “an amazing man.” Meighan, via e-mail, adds, “Stu has a first-class intellect, coupled with prodigious energy and stamina. . . . Stu also has an ability — second to none — to deal with and understand the detail, without ever losing sight of the strategic and big picture.” Eizenstat graduated from Harvard Law School in 1967 and landed a job in the Johnson White House. He served as research director for Hubert Humphrey’s presidential campaign, then spent 1969 clerking for U.S. District Judge Newell Edenfield in Atlanta. He went on to join Powell, Goldstein, Frazer & Murphy in the Atlanta office, where he remained until fellow Georgian Jimmy Carter ran for president. From the first day of Carter’s presidency in 1977 until the last in 1981, Eizenstat served as his chief domestic policy adviser. He dubs it “the best job I’ve ever had.” When Carter was defeated for re-election, Eizenstat returned to Powell, Goldstein, this time in the D.C. office. In 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed him U.S. ambassador to the European Union, a position he held until 1996. Up to that point, “my whole focus had been domestic,” Eizenstat says. “This was a completely different portfolio.” Major issues included final negotiations in the Uruguay Round of trade talks and the Transatlantic Agenda, which remains the framework of the U.S. relationship with the European Union. After a brief stint as undersecretary of commerce for international trade, Eizenstat served as undersecretary of state for economic, business, and agricultural affairs, leading the U.S. delegation in negotiating the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. In 1999, he moved on to the Treasury Department as deputy secretary. Two years later, he returned to private practice at Covington, where notable colleagues include Peter Trooboff, David Marchick, Peter Flanagan, and Marney Cheek. From 1995 to 2001, Eizenstat also took on what he calls the “most personally satisfying” thing he has ever done. As special representative of the president on Holocaust-related issues, he negotiated major agreements with the Swiss, French, Germans, Austrians, and others concerning restitution of property, payment for slave and forced labor, recovery of looted art and bank accounts, and payment of insurance policies. To date, he says, $8 billion has been paid out to 1.5 million victims. “We knew if we didn’t act quickly, the window of interest would close and the victims would all be dead,” he says. “I think we ran for six years on adrenaline.”

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