President Donald Trump on Friday announced he will nominate Chicago businessman and GOP fundraiser Ron Gidwitz as his ambassador to Belgium.
Gidwitz was Trump’s Illinois finance chair during his 2016 presidential campaign, and he led fundraising for Bruce Rauner’s successful bid for governor in 2014.
A longtime face in Illinois political circles, Gidwitz is co-founder of GCG Partners, a consulting and equity firm, and he is the former CEO of Helene Curtis Industries, Inc.
His name had been floated earlier this year as a possible ambassador to Australia or France, before Trump nominated him for the post in Belgium. The appointment requires U.S. Senate approval.
Gidwitz sunk more than $5 million into his unsuccessful bid as a Republican candidate for Illinois governor in 2006, and he has donated more than $1 million to conservative candidates, party organizations and political committees in the state since the early 1990s, according to records kept by the state board of elections.
He has also staked a claim as a top GOP donor nationwide, developing a close relationship with Trump’s team in 2016. Last year, he gave more than $188,000 to conservative candidates and organizations across the country, federal election data shows.
In a statement announcing his nomination, the White House noted that Gidwitz is “also Chicago regional chair of the Business Executives for National Security and, for almost thirty consecutive years, and led three important public institutions; the Chicago Economic Development Commission, the City Colleges of Chicago, and the Illinois State Board of Education.”
Gidwitz could not immediately be reached for comment late Friday.