President Donald Trump has nominated California businesswoman Jamie McCourt to become the U.S. ambassador to France, according to a statement put out by the White House on Wednesday.
Until her famously messy divorce in 2011, McCourt, 63, was co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers with her former husband, Frank McCourt, who currently owns the Olympique de Marseille football club.
According to her company website, McCourt is a “Los Angeles-based professional sports owner, entrepreneur, angel investor, real estate developer, educator, art collector, food and wine connoisseur and philanthropist, whose business and legal background, boundless energy and proficiency in identifying talent and opportunity has been the foundation for an accomplished career journey.”
McCourt practiced law for 14 years in New York and Massachusetts and subsequently focused on real estate development for 10 years.
When she was CEO of the Los Angeles Dodgers, McCourt “was the highest-ranking woman in baseball and one of the few female executives in all of professional sports,” her website says, noting that under her leadership “the Dodgers returned to profitability.”
As an adjunct professor at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, McCourt taught a leadership class from 2005 to 2011 called, “The Pursuit of Leadership: A Female Perspective.”
She went on to introduce a new national initiative to help young women become financially self-sufficient after finding out through her bitter divorce that she really had no idea about money.
“I try to use myself as an example,” she told Business Insider in an interview last year. “I feel like if what I went through could happen to me, what’s happening to other women? I’m a lawyer, I went back to get my business degree, I ran a sports team, yet I was caught so far off-guard financially.”
Now, she runs her own company, Jamie Enterprises. She mostly invests in high-value real estate, biotechnology ventures and technology start-ups, including Zipcar, now a major peer-to-peer car sharing service. McCourt was an early investor in Kite Pharma, a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company that has since gone public, and she’s backing a variety of culinary ventures, including Bouchon of the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group. She also owns a Napa Valley vineyard.
McCourt has degrees from Georgetown University, the University of Maryland and France’s Sorbonne. An art lover and connoisseur, she has lived and studied in the southern French city of Aix-en-Provence.
Jewish by birth, McCourt studied comparative law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and is a recipient of the Scopus award, the highest humanitarian honor conferred by the American Friends of the Hebrew University. Past Scopus laureates include Steven Spielberg, Ted Turner, Gregory Peck, Barbra Streisand and Elie Wiesel.
McCourt was originally nominated to be the U.S. ambassador to Belgium, but the White House withdrew the nomination and replaced it with France and Monaco on Wednesday. Her appointment must be approved by the Republican-led Senate.
During the 2016 presidential election, McCourt was an early supporter of President Trump’s economic policies and donated more than $400,000 to the “Trump Victory” fund, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times. She continued to financially support Trump’s transition to office. In December, she helped host a fundraiser breakfast for the president-elect, for which tickets were sold for $5,000 apiece.
Prior to her support of Trump, McCourt also donated to the campaigns of several other Republican presidential candidates, including John Kasich, Marco Rubio, and Carly Fiorina. She has also supported former President Obama, contributing to his campaign and victory funds in 2011 and donating $50,000 to the inauguration in 2009. According to the FEC, she donated roughly $2,000 to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2007. It has even been rumored that she’s had political aspirations herself.
Jamie currently serves on the UCLA Anderson School of Management’s Board of Advisors as well as the Americas Board at the MIT Sloan School of Management. In addition, she is a member of UNICEF’s Southern California Regional Board and recently traveled with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF to the Middle East, where she visited the Jordanian Za’atari refugee camp.
According to the White House, “Jamie McCourt possesses a unique global perspective, having lived and worked both domestically and abroad in various industries – sports, law, finance, education and real estate. She earned a B.S. from Georgetown University, a J.D. from University of Maryland School of Law, and an M.S. from MIT/Sloan School of Management. She speaks French.”
An ambassador is the president’s highest-ranking representative to a specific nation or international organization abroad, according to the government’s website. “An effective ambassador has to be a strong leader—a good manager, a resilient negotiator, and a respected representative of the United States. A key role of an ambassador is to coordinate the activities not only of the Foreign Service Officers and staff serving under him, but also representatives of other U.S. agencies in the country. At some overseas posts, personnel from as many as 27 federal agencies work in concert with embassy staff.”