Richard Hecklinger had a 34 year career in the Foreign Service, culminating with his tour as Ambassador to Thailand, where he led one of our largest embassies. Prior to Thailand, he served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Canadian Affairs, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Delegation to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and Executive Assistant to the Undersecretary for Economic Affairs.
Upon leaving the Foreign Service, he served five years as Deputy Secretary General of the OECD where he oversaw the organization’s work on issues such as investment, taxation, corporate governance, competition policy, and public governance. In this capacity, he led a program of cooperation with nations of the Middle East and North Africa to improve their investment environment and economic- related governance.
After returning from the OECD, Ambassador Hecklinger joined the Department of State’s Office of the Inspector General where he led inspections of some of our most important missions including those in Iraq, Afghanistan, Russia and India. He also produced assessments of the Department’s support for staff in high threat posts and of the strengths and weaknesses of embassies’ leadership.
Throughout his career, Ambassador Hecklinger was actively involved in improving the institutions of American diplomacy. This included, among other things, the strengthening the economic function of the Department of State, the creation of the National Endowment for Democracy and its affiliated institutes, the establishment of the Department’s dissent channel and the Secretary’s Open Forum, and the reform effort that led to the negotiation of the Foreign Service Act of 1980.
Ambassador Hecklinger is from Syracuse, New York and received a BA and honorary degree from St. Lawrence University, an MA from Johns Hopkins SAIS, and a JD from Harvard Law School. He is a member of the Executive Board of the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs and the Ambassadors’ Advisory Panel of the Executive Council on Diplomacy. He is married to Carol Pratt Hecklinger, former Director of Refugee Admissions and Resettlement at the Department of State.