Gordon Sondland was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 29, 2018, as U.S. Representative to the European Union with the rank of Ambassador. He arrived in Brussels on July 8, 2018, and presented his credentials at the European Commission and to President of the European Council Donald Tusk on July 9, 2018.
Ambassador Sondland is the Founder and CEO of Provenance Hotels, a national owner and operator of full-service boutique “lifestyle” hotels. Provenance and its affiliates (founded in 1985), currently own and/or operate 19 hotels in seven states and have another six hotels currently under development. Provenance creates unique, independent full-service, urban hotels, each with their own design, story and closely associated art collection. The Company employs over 1,000 associates between its hotels and its Portland headquarters. The Company has received critical acclaim for its hotels from such varied publications as The New York Times, Conde Nast, Travel and Leisure, and many other national and international publications. In 2015, Provenance consolidated more than half of its assets into a $500mm fund with a strong balance sheet and liquidity. The Fund anticipates reaching a gross asset value of approximately $1 billion in 2018.
Ambassador Sondland’s community service includes positions on Governor Kulongoski’s transition team, as well as service on the Commission for White House Fellowships to which he was appointed by President George W. Bush. Governor Kulongoski asked Ambassador Sondland to serve as a principal Republican liaison between Oregon and the White House, and during the following seven years, Ambassador Sondland assisted successfully in securing federal funds for various urgent Oregon state needs. Ambassador Sondland also served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Portland Art Museum, and was elected its Chairman in 2009 where he served until 2011.
Ambassador Sondland was appointed by Governor Kulongoski as Chairman to the Governor’s Office of Film and Television in 2002. As one of the longest serving members and Chairs, Ambassador Sondland helped to preside over the growth of Oregon’s film and television industry, by securing for Oregon the production of such television series as The Librarians, Grimm, Portlandia and Leverage. During his tenure, the Film Office lured films such as Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon, and The Ring Two starring Naomi Watts, among many others. Ambassador Sondland is also a current member of the US Bancorp Advisory Board, and he also serves on the Board of Visitors of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University.
In 1993, Ambassador Sondland co-founded the Gordon D. Sondland and Katherine J. Durant Foundation, which was established to “help families and boost communities.” The Foundation has given millions of dollars to such diverse needs as childhood education, African hunger programs, the arts, and medical research. Beneficiaries include the Portland Art Museum, where among several capital gifts, the Foundation has endowed in perpetuity free access for children under 18. In addition, the Foundation established a nutrition program for the Simonga Village School in Zambia, where the Foundation feeds breakfast to 500 young students each school day. The Foundation recently announced the establishment of the Sondland/Durant Early Cancer Detection Conference under the Knight Cancer Institute at OHSU. The Foundation also contributes significantly to the Military Service Initiative program operated by the Bush Center in Dallas. The Foundation collaborates annually with comedian Jay Leno and President Bush to raise a significant portion of the budget of the program. Additionally, the Sondland/Durant Foundation recently created the Sondland and Durant Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Duke University.
Ambassador Sondland is married to Katherine Durant, the Managing Partner of Atlas Investments a Real Estate Investment Fund, and former Chair of the Oregon Investment Council, the body that oversees the State’s $90 Billion Public Employees Fund. They have a son age 20 and a daughter age 19.