United States President Barack Obama has nominated Robert Francis Cekuta as a new ambassador to Azerbaijan, according to the White House website.
Since 2012, Richard Morningstar has occupied the position of U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan. His mandate expires in August 2014.
Robert Francis Cekuta, a career member of the Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Energy Resources at the Department of State, a position he has held since 2011.
From 2010 to 2011, Cekuta served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy, Sanctions, and Commodities in the Bureau of Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs at the Department of State. In 2010, he was the Senior Advisor for Food Security in the Bureau of Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs.
From 2009 to 2010, Cekuta was the Senior Deputy Coordinating Director for Economic and Development Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan and served as the Minister-Counselor for Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan from 2007 to 2009. From 2003 to 2007, he was the Minister-Counselor for Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, Germany.
Cekuta was Director of the Iraq Economic Group in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs at the Department of State from 2002 to 2003. In 2002, he was also a Special Negotiator for Biotechnology in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs. From 2000 to 2002, he was Director of Economic Policy Analysis and Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.
From 1999 to 2000, Cekuta served as a Senior Advisor in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Cekuta was the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tirana, Albania from 1996 to 1999.
Earlier in his career, Cekuta directed a Kosovo task force and served in the Bureau of Near East and South Asian Affairs. He also served at U.S. Missions in Vienna, Austria; Baghdad, Iraq; Johannesburg, South Africa; and Sana'a, Yemen.
Cekuta received a B.S. from Georgetown University, an M.A. from the Thunderbird School of Global Management, and an M.A. from the National Defense University.