• US Foreign Policy
William C. Eacho, III served as the U.S. Ambassador to Austria from August, 2009 to July, 2013. Before that, he was a successful business manager and entrepreneur with a history of active civic engagement. At present, he is a Visiting Professor of the Practice at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, and Co-Founder of the Partnership for Responsible Growth.
Ambassador Eacho’s tenure in Austria was marked by broad cooperation on national security and law enforcement issues and stronger economic ties. Five bilateral agreements were signed. Austria was a strong partner to the U.S. on the UN Security Council, providing critical support on Iran sanctions. Austria increased its commitments to peacekeeping missions in the Balkans and Lebanon. Austria provided important support to the US prosecution of an egregious case of US intellectual property theft by a Chinese wind turbine manufacturer. Ambassador Eacho played a significant role in furthering the Southern Corridor pipeline project to bring Caspian gas to Europe, thus enhancing European energy security. Austrian investment in the U.S. hit new highs, marked by an investment of $1 billion by an Austrian steel manufacturer in a new facility in Texas.
Previously, Ambassador Eacho managed a diverse portfolio of public equity, private equity, and real estate investments as CEO of Carlton Capital Group, LLC in Bethesda, MD. In 1998, Ambassador Eacho was Executive Vice President of Alliant Foodservice Inc., then a $6 billion national foodservice distributor headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois. He joined Alliant upon selling Alliant his business, Atlantic Food Services, a leading regional foodservice distribution company based in Manassas, Virginia, with annual revenues over $200 million. In 1989, Atlantic was recognized as the industry’s Innovator of the Year by ID Magazine, and in 1994 received ID’s Great Distributor Organization Award. Ambassador Eacho was the founding co-Chairman of UniPro Foodservice, Inc., the foodservice distribution industry’s leading international procurement and marketing cooperative. From 1996-1997 he served as Chairman of ComSource, an industry cooperative, which later became UniPro by merger. During Ambassador Eacho’s tenure as Chairman of ComSource and UniPro, revenues grew from $9 billion to $20 billion.
Ambassador Eacho received a Master’s degree in Business Administration with Distinction from Harvard Business School in 1979. Prior to attending Harvard, he was a Financial Analyst in the Corporate Finance department of Hornblower & Weeks, Hemphill-Noyes, Inc., in New York, and was an Associate with Loeb-Rhoades, Hornblower & Company in Los Angeles. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, where he majored in Law and the Economy, a self-designed major combining political science and economics, and wrote his thesis on the use of banking regulatory oversight as a tool to influence economic activity.
Ambassador Eacho serves as member of the Board of Directors of the Salzburg Global Seminar. Ambassador Eacho previously served on the boards of Stanley Martin Companies, Inc., Bialek Corporation, Inc. and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington. He also served as Chairman of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, and as its Acting CEO. He served on the Board of Visitors of Duke University’s Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, and was a member of World President’s Organization and Chief Executives Organization. He was the former Washington, D.C. Chapter Chair of the Young Presidents Organization.
He also was a member of Business Executives for National Security, the Brookings Council, and has rejoined the Economic Club of Washington. In these organizations and in other activities, Ambassador Eacho supported efforts to address the challenges of climate change.
Ambassador Eacho previously served as a member of the Trustees Advisory Council of the OneVoice Movement, an organization dedicated to promoting moderate voices among Israelis and Palestinians and a peaceful, two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. During the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign, Ambassador Eacho helped raise funds for the campaign of the Democratic Party candidate, then-Senator Barack Obama and advised the campaign on economic issues.
Ambassador Eacho and his wife Donna have three sons. Donna Eacho has a background in commercial banking and has a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an undergraduate degree from Duke University. Among other activities, she served as a judge for the National Capital Business Ethics Awards in Washington, DC, part of a program sponsored by the National Capital Chapter of the Society of Financial Service Professionals. She also served on the Board of Directors of Round House Theater in Bethesda, MD.