President Joe Biden announced on September 14 the appointment of Penny Pritzker as the US Special Representative for Ukraine’s Economic Recovery.
In this role, she will work with the Ukrainian government, G7, EU, international financial institutions and partners, as well as the American private sector to help forge Ukraine’s future as a prosperous, secure, European democracy.
She plans to travel to the country in the coming weeks to begin assessing the state of its economy as well as to meet with political and business leaders.
Pritzker will drive efforts to shape donor priorities through the Multi-Agency Donor Coordination Platform to align them with Ukraine’s needs and to galvanize international partners to increase their support for Ukraine. She will also work closely with the government of Ukraine as it intensifies reforms needed to win the future, open export markets, mobilize foreign direct investment, and catalyze economic recovery.
Her extensive private sector experience, time as Secretary of Commerce, as well as her deep personal connection to Ukraine and the Ukrainian diaspora, make her uniquely qualified for this task. Pritzker traces her roots to the village of Veliky Pritsky, outside Kyiv, where her ancestors owned a grain store before emigrating to the United States more than 100 years ago.
Pritzker is a deeply committed leader trusted across the political spectrum for her proven track record of delivering positive outcomes and results.
Her appointment demonstrates the United States’ commitment to strengthening Ukraine’s European future and follows new economic and security commitments announced at the Ukraine Recovery Conference in London and in Vilnius by the G7+ and NATO.
Pritzker’s role will build on the steadfast work of the State Department, USAID, the Commerce Department, and other agencies to accelerate Ukraine’s economic transformation. She will be key in helping to oversee the process by which Ukraine not only survives, but thrives, and eventually stands on its own.
In addition to her time in government, she is an heir to the Hyatt Hotels fortune, making her a billionaire by any calculation. She is an entrepreneur with extensive business contacts and was a major backer of Barack Obama in his rise to the US Senate and the presidency, helping to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for his political campaigns.
After winning a second term in the White House, Obama named her as Secretary of Commerce. Her brother, J.B. Pritzker, is currently the Democratic governor of Illinois.
With her wide experience, Pritzker, will be needed to help create investment opportunities in Ukraine, including public and private investment from US companies and allies in the effort to help Ukraine rebuild after Russia’s invasion.
Rebuilding areas devastated by Russian military strikes will cost hundreds of billions of dollars, probably substantially higher than the $400 billion the World Bank estimated last March.