|Rufus Gifford||James Costos|
James Costos, Nominee for Ambassador to Spain, Department of State
James Costos is Vice President of Global Licensing and Retail for Home Box Office (HBO). Before joining HBO in 2006, he was President and CEO of Eight Cylinders, Inc., an entertainment marketing and licensing agency. Previously, from 2002 to 2004, he was head of Promotions and Consumer Products at Revolution Studios in California. He began his career in New York as a fashion and retail executive. From 2001 to 2002, he was Vice President of Retail for Hermes in New York, and from 1991 to 2001, he was Vice President of Retail Operations for Tod’s in New York. Mr. Costos currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Humane Society of the United States. He received a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts.
Rufus Gifford, Nominee for Ambassador to Denmark, Department of State
Rufus Gifford most recently served as Finance Chair of the Presidential Inaugural Committee. He served as Finance Director for Obama for America from 2011 to 2012, and as Finance Director for the Democratic National Committee from 2009 to 2011. From 2008 to 2009, he was the California Finance Director for the Presidential Inaugural Committee, after working as a political consultant in California from 2004 to 2008. From 1998 to 2004, Mr. Gifford was Creative Executive for Davis Entertainment, an independent film company based in Los Angeles. He is currently a Federal Club Member of the Human Rights Campaign and a Partner in Conservation for the World Wildlife Fund. He received a B.A. from Brown University.
Both men are openly gay, and the countries to which they are nominated happen to have enacted marriage equality and are considered gay-friendly destinations. Gifford's nomination to Denmark had long been rumored but Costos' nomination was something of a surprise. The two nominations come barely a week after the Obama administration announced it was nominating openly gay Daniel Baer to be Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the fourth out gay person to hold Ambassadorial rank. David Huebner, the current Ambassador to New Zealand is a gay man from Los Angeles.
Former Director of the Office of Personnel Management, John Berry, the former highest ranked openly LGBT member of the Obama administration who was rumored earlier this year to be considered for a Cabinet position, is still expected to be nominated to become Ambassador to Australia, perhaps in the pride month of June!
Hat/tip to TowleRoad