Ambassador Eaton has had a distinguished diplomatic career in the U.S. Department of State. He served from 2005-08 as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Panama. Previously, he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Administration, a position he held throughout Secretary of State Colin Powell’s tenure from 2001-2005. As Assistant Secretary of State, he was responsible for delivering global support services to civilian U.S. Government employees in diplomatic missions at 260 locations around the world. As one of the State Department’s most senior management professionals, he has also served overseas in Georgetown, Guyana, Moscow, Istanbul, Milan and Ankara. In Washington, he has held a wide variety of multi-disciplinary positions, including in the Offices of the Deputy Secretary, Under Secretary for Management and the Assistant Secretaries for Administration and Diplomatic Security. Most recently, he was the Dean of the School of Language Studies at the U.S. National Foreign Affairs Training Center.
Outside the State Department, Bill won a Virginia Press Association award in 1978 for journalistic excellence. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army, serving, among other places, in South Korea. He left the Foreign Service for 3 years and served as Executive Director and Director of International Operations for the Young Presidents’ Organization, an international association of young chief executive officers of multi-million-dollar companies in nearly 80 countries around the globe; in this position, he led a $3-million turnaround of the organization and, through effective leadership and recruitment, cut staff turnover from 48% annually to virtually nil.
Bill demonstrated his skills as political analyst and negotiator as political officer in Georgetown, Guyana and leading successful negotiations with Russia, Ukraine, the European Union, Canada and Sweden to establish science centers in Moscow and Kiev for former Soviet weapons scientists. He was graduated magna cum laude in International Relations from the University of Virginia. A gifted linguist, he speaks Spanish, Turkish, Russian, Dutch and Italian. He is a recipient of the 2004 Presidential Distinguished Service Award, the Department’s Arnold Raphel Award for Mentoring, Presidential Meritorious Service Award (2002 and 2005), Honorary National Distinguished Principal Award for leadership in international education (2003) and the Department’s Leamon R. Hunt Award for Administrative Excellence. The Government of Panama in 2008 awarded Ambassador Eaton its highest decoration for non-Panamanians, the Order of Vasco Nunez de Balboa for his significant contributions to strengthening U.S.-Panamanian relations.
Mr. Eaton is a native of Winchester, Virginia.