Prior to arriving in the United States, David O’Sullivan served as the Chief Operating Officer of the European External Action Service. The EEAS supports the High Representative/Vice President of the European Commission, in fulfilling her mandate to ensure the consistency of the Union’s external action. The EEAS also assists the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission in the area of external relations.
David was Director General for Trade from 2005 to 2010. Previously he was Secretary General of the European Commission from June 2000 to November 2005, Head of Cabinet of Commission President Romano Prodi and Director General for Education and Training. He started his career in the Irish Foreign Ministry and spent four years in the Commission Delegation in Tokyo. He also has extensive experience in EU social and employment policy. David has a background in economics, graduating from Trinity College, Dublin and having completed post graduate studies at the College of Europe, Bruges. He holds an Honorary Doctorate from the Dublin Institute of Technology. He is also a Member of the Consultative Board of the Institute for International Integration Studies at Trinity College, Dublin. He is a visiting Professor at the European College of Parma and was awarded Alumnus of the Year 2013 by the College of Europe, Bruges. In June 2014, David O’Sullivan was awarded the EU Transatlantic Business Award by the American Chamber of Commerce.
He is married with two children.
Mr. O’Sullivan has a long and distinguished career that spans five decades. He has served in a number of senior official posts in the European public service.
Prior to his appointment as Ambassador to the US, he was the Chief Operating Officer of the ‘European External Action Service’ and responsible for establishing this new EU diplomatic service. The Service is one of the largest diplomatic networks with 140 delegations across the globe.
Mr. O’Sullivan’s career includes a number of notable and senior positions within the European Commission: Head of Commission President Prodi’s Cabinet (1999-2000), Secretary General of the European Commission (2000-2005). He has extensive trade experience as Director General for Trade (2005-2010) and Chief Negotiator for the Doha Development Round. He was responsible for overseeing the launch of a number of free trade agreements and concluded the EU’s agreement with South Korea. Before joining the Commission, he started his career with the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (1977-1979).
Early European Commission Career Timeline
Mr. O’Sullivan graduated from Trinity College, Dublin with a degree in Economics and Sociology (1975) and completed post-graduate studies at the College of Europe, Bruges (1976).
He holds an Honourary Doctorate from the Dublin Institute of Technology (2005). He has been a visiting Professor at the European College of Parma. He was awarded a second Honorary Doctorate from his alma mater Trinity College, Dublin (2014).
Honours and Awards
– EU Transatlantic Business Award by the American Chamber of Commerce (June 2014).
– Alumnus of the Year by the College of Europe (2013).
– European of the Year by the European Movement of Ireland (1999).
Mr. O’Sullivan was born in 1953 in Dublin, Ireland. He is married to the architect Agnes O’Hare and they have two children.
He is no stranger to the US having travelled extensively across the States and spent his early life attending grade school in California.
He speaks English, French, Spanish, German, Japanese and Irish.