February 10, 2022

Senate Confirms New Leaders for International Development Finance Corp. and Export-Import Bank

Holland & Knight Alert
Kevin L. Turner

Highlights

  • The U.S. Senate has confirmed Scott Nathan as chief executive officer of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and Reta Jo Lewis as president and chair of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM).
  • These confirmations bring political leadership to the most senior positions at both DFC and EXIM and should result in quicker decision-making and more certainty surrounding the agencies' priorities and projects.
  • DFC and EXIM are integral components of the Biden Administration's strategy for both supply chain resiliency and the International Climate Finance Plan.

The U.S. Senate has confirmed Scott Nathan and Reta Jo Lewis to the top leadership roles within the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM), respectively. Nathan will serve as chief executive officer of the DFC and Lewis will be president and chair of EXIM. Both were confirmed on Feb. 9, 2022.

These confirmations bring political leadership to the most senior positions at both DFC and EXIM and should result in quicker decision-making and more certainty surrounding the agencies' priorities and projects.

DFC and EXIM are integral components of the Biden Administration's strategy for both supply chain resiliency and the International Climate Finance Plan.

DFC

Scott Nathan most recently served as a senior advisor to the White House Office of Presidential Personnel after having worked on the Biden-Harris Presidential Transition's Appointments team. During the Obama-Biden Administration, Nathan served as the special representative for Commercial and Business Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, where he led a team focused on protecting U.S. economic interests abroad and advocating on behalf of American exports. Later, he served as the associate director for General Government Programs at the Office of Management and Budget. He also worked as a partner, management committee member, and the chief risk officer of a private investment partnership based in Boston. Nathan holds a B.A., J.D., and MBA degrees from Harvard.

As CEO of the DFC, Nathan will be tasked with ensuring that the international development finance priorities of the Biden Administration are reflected in the transactions that DFC supports. In his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he summed up his views on the DFC as follows:

DFC mobilizes capital for private sector-led growth in the developing world and provides a clear alternative to state-directed investments by authoritarian governments. DFC's product offering gives developing countries a positive choice, reflecting our democratic values, for meeting their infrastructure and economic needs. While investing in private sector companies and projects, DFC can insist on transparency, rule of law, financial sustainability, and high environmental and labor standards. Unlike some of our strategic competitors, we do this with no strings attached.

Nathan replaces Dev Jagadesan, DFC's deputy general counsel, who has been serving as the acting CEO.

EXIM

Reta Jo Lewis most recently served as a senior fellow and director of congressional affairs at the German Marshall Fund of the United States where she led initiatives, programs and bipartisan exchanges for members of the U.S. Congress and their European counterparts. Lewis previously served in senior government roles, including as the special representative for global intergovernmental affairs under Secretary Hillary Clinton at the U.S. Department of State during the Obama-Biden Administration, and as special assistant for political affairs to President Bill Clinton. In the private sector, Lewis practiced law at a large, international firm, and also served as vice president and counselor to the president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. She holds a J.D. from Emory University School of Law, an M.S.A.J. from American University and a B.A. from the University of Georgia.

As president and chair of EXIM, Lewis will be tasked with ensuring that the Biden Administration's priorities for supporting U.S. exporters are reflected EXIM's programs and transactions, including the recently proposed domestic financing program.

In her testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, Lewis provided the following comments on her priorities for EXIM:

America's exporters are in a competition to win the 21st century, and EXIM must stand shoulder to shoulder with them. As we work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, EXIM must seize this opportunity to live up to its mission. EXIM must partner with sister agencies like the International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to enhance the global competitiveness of U.S. businesses and workers. EXIM must also renew its emphasis on supporting small businesses to help our country's economy build back better.

Lewis replaces Jim Burrows, EXIM's senior vice president for the Office of Small Business, who has been serving as the acting president and chair.

For more information or questions specific to your organization, contact the author.

Kevin L. Turner is a corporate attorney in Holland & Knight's Washington, D.C., office. He previously served as general counsel of the DFC, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and EXIM.


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