Senior State Department Official Jose W. Fernandez Joins Gibson Dunn in New York

October 28, 2013

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is pleased to announce that Jose W.  Fernandez, the former Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs, has joined the firm as a partner in the New York office.  During his tenure, Fernandez led the bureau that was responsible for overseeing all aspects of the State Department’s commercial diplomacy worldwide.  At Gibson Dunn, he will focus his practice on mergers and acquisitions and finance in emerging markets in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

“Throughout his career in private practice, Jose focused on M&A and finance, including project finance, privatizations and restructurings, primarily in Latin America and Africa,” said Ken Doran, Chairman and Managing Partner of Gibson Dunn.  “And during his tenure with the State Department, Jose further deepened and broadened his emerging markets experience to Europe, Asia and the MENA region.  He also gained substantial experience in important areas of U.S. law that are critical to major global clients, including trade sanctions and CFIUS, which will complement our existing regulatory expertise and enable us to deliver a more comprehensive compliance package to our clients throughout the world.”    

“Jose will not only be an asset in our transactional and regulatory practices, but also in our international arbitration and disputes practices with his experience with bilateral investment treaties, including co-chairing the interagency process that drafted a new Model BIT for use by the United States,” said Steve Shoemate, Co-Partner in Charge of the New York office.  “He has a stellar reputation in the private and public sectors, and his extensive knowledge of key growth regions around the world will be a tremendous resource for our clients.”

“During his career, Jose worked on significant transactions for banks and corporate clients doing business in virtually every jurisdiction in Latin America, particularly in Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Central America,” said Kevin Kelley, Co-Chair of the Latin America practice.  “His experience will complement our regional strengths in capital markets and be a substantial addition to our Latin America practice and our São Paulo office.”

“At the State Department, Jose promoted U.S. business interests around the world, working closely with top governmental officials and private sector leaders, and we expect that the insights and experience he gained will help our clients evaluate and secure business and investment opportunities in those markets,” said Paul Harter, Partner in Charge of the Dubai office.  “He has spent considerable time in the Middle East, led several government and business delegations to the region, and is very well known here.  He will enhance our ability to represent both in-bound and out-bound investors.”

“I look forward to becoming a part of Gibson Dunn’s strong partnership and collegial culture,” said Fernandez.  “The firm has a sterling reputation in infrastructure development, mergers and acquisitions and project finance, all areas that I believe are poised to take off in emerging markets in the near future.  It is also a leader in representing foreign investors coming to the United States.”

About Jose W. Fernandez

Nominated by President Obama and unanimously confirmed by the Senate, Fernandez was sworn in as Assistant Secretary for the State Department’s Economic, Energy and Business Affairs Bureau on December 1, 2009.  During his nearly four-year tenure, he led the Bureau that is responsible for overseeing work on international trade and investment policy; international finance, development and debt policy; economic sanctions and combating terrorist financing; international energy security policy; international telecommunications and transportation policies; and support for U.S. businesses and the private sector overseas.  He focused his work on development as a business opportunity for U.S. companies and a strategic imperative for the United States, mostly in the areas of infrastructure, trade and investment, entrepreneurship, and agriculture.  He spearheaded the State Department’s “Economic Statecraft” initiative, co-led the interagency team that prepared the Model Bilateral Investment Treaty used by the United States today, worked with American businesses to promote responsible business conduct in Myanmar, Bangladesh and the diamond industry through the Kimberly Process, and led the U.S. government’s economic dialogues with Turkey, the UAE, Brazil and several other nations.  He was the State Department’s principal representative in the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) and was also a key figure in devising and implementing U.S. sanctions policy around the world. 

Prior to joining the State Department, Fernandez was a partner in the New York office of Latham & Watkins from 2006 to 2009, serving as global chair of the Latin America practice.  Throughout his legal career, his practice focused on Latin America, Europe and Africa, advising clients on international mergers and acquisitions, financings, trade and other matters as the economies of these regions evolved.  He had substantial experience in the telecommunications, energy, water, banking and beverage industries.  Fernandez was featured by Hispanic Business Magazine in its “100 Influentials List” for 2006 and 2007. 

He graduated in 1980 from Columbia Law School where he received the Charles Evans Hughes Prize and a Parker School Certificate of International Law with Honors.  He is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and proficient in French.