A Chicago lawyer, investment banker and Democratic fundraiser is rumoured to be a frontrunner as President Barack Obama’s choice of Ambassador to London.
It is said Barack Obama owes his presidency to Louis Susman, 71, who spotted the US President’s potential early on when he watched Obama, then an obscure Illinois senator, speak at a gala fundraiser for the John Kerry presidential campaign.
Susman apparently turned to Kerry and said: “This guy will be on a national ticket some day,” to which Kerry replied: “Well I have a way in mind for him to be at the National Convention this year.”
Obama was selected to give the keynote speech, which transformed him into a national figure and set him on the road to the White House.
Susman backed Obama even before he declared his candidacy in early 2007.
A legendary fundraiser, Susman was given the nickname ‘The Hoover’ by The Chicago Tribune thanks to his knack of sucking up dollars from deep pockets.
He worked on Ted Kennedy’s 1980 challenge to Jimmy Carter for the Democratic Party nomination and is believed to have raised a staggering $247m for John Kerry’s campaign.
Before moving to Chicago in 1989 to work for law firm Salomon Brothers, Susman was a senior partner at a St Louis law firm and served on the Democratic national committee from 1972 to 1982.
He retired earlier this month as vice chairman of Citigroup Global Markets.
The US Embassy refused comment on Susman’s possible nomination and sources close to the negotiation said the decision was “not final”.
Find out more about the Ambassadorial nomination process