John C. Kornblum is secretary of the American Academy in Berlin’s board of trustees.
Kornblum is a former United States ambassador to Germany (1997-2001). Since leaving diplomatic service, in 2001, he has been active in business, banking, and consulting. From 2001 to 2009, he served as chairman of Lazard Freres LLP, an international financial advisory and asset management firm, and is currently a senior counselor to the international law firm of Noerr LLP.
Kornblum was born in Detroit, Michigan, and entered the American Foreign Service in 1964. Over the next thirty years he served posts in Germany, Austria, Belgium, and Finland, and within the State Department. He was assigned as Minister to the US missions in Bonn and Berlin and has served as deputy US ambassador to NATO, US representative at the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, assistant secretary for European and Canadian Affairs, and special envoy to the Balkans. While serving as US ambassador to Germany, Kornblum oversaw the move of the German government from Bonn to Berlin and reopened the American Embassy in Berlin in 1999.
In 2000, he received the Secretary’s Award, the highest honor awarded to a foreign service official. He has also been awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz, the Österreichischer Verdienstorden, the Silver Medal of the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany, and Honorary Citizenship of Sarajevo. Kornblum was named a Distinguished Alumnus of Michigan State University in 1999.
Kornblum is a member of the advisory councils of Russell Reynolds and Management Circle and is an advisor to Pfizer Inc. and Boeing Corporation. He also serves on the advisory boards of a number of nonprofit organizations, including the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the German Historical Museum, the John F. Kennedy Atlantic Forum, the German Institute for Community Organizing, and the Martin Luther Stiftung.