May 28, 2009
Susman was a top fundraiser for Obama's presidential campaign and served as national finance chairman for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) during his presidential bid four years earlier.
While the East Coast and West Coast dominate presidential fundraising, Susman ran his 2004 fundraising operation from the 87th floor of Sears Tower, where he had an office as the vice chairman for Citigroup Global Markets.
He has raised tens of millions of dollars for presidential candidates and Chicago's cultural institutions.
In addition to Obama and Kerry, he was a prolific fundraiser for the presidential bids of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), former Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) and former Sen. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.).
The White House announced Susman's nomination, which had been reported in advance by the British press, on a list of ambassadorial appointments released Wednesday evening.
Former Indiana Democratic congressman Tim Roemer was also on the list, nominated to serve as ambassador to India.
"I am grateful that these distinguished Americans have agreed to help represent the United States and strengthen our partnerships abroad at this critical time for our nation and the world. I am confident they will advance American diplomacy as we work to meet the challenges of the 21st century," Obama said in a written statement accompanying the list.
The nominations are subject to Senate confirmation.
Susman, 71, was born in St. Louis. He was the son of an industrial cloth company owner, grew up in a St. Louis suburb, attended the University of Michigan and returned to St. Louis to go to Washington University School of Law.
His legal career started to take on a higher profile in the mid-1970s when August Busch Jr., patriarch of the Anheuser-Busch Cos., became a client. Over the years, he was involved in deals including the sale of Marshall Field's to Dayton Hudson Corp. and transactions involving the now-defunct Trans World Airlines.
Before moving to Chicago in 1989, Susman was a senior partner at a high-powered St. Louis law firm, a director of baseball's St. Louis Cardinals and a Democratic national committeeman from 1972 to 1982.
Susman lives in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood with his wife, Margie, in a home that he purchased in 1989 for $1.5 million. He has two grown children, Sally and William.
The couple also owns a vacation home near Kerry's on Nantucket Island off Cape Cod.
(The Chicago Tribune contributed to this story)
Get the latest news at the top and bottom of every hour on News/Talk 720, WGN
Copyright © 2014, WGN-AM