President and Chief Executive Officer, U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council
Edward Burton is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council. Mr. Burton works with the American and Saudi public and private sectors to promote the interests of the U.S.-Saudi Arabian bilateral commercial relationship. The U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council was established in December 1993 to improve the mutual knowledge and understanding between the private sectors of the United States and Saudi Arabia, and to promote trade and investment between the two countries. The Council utilizes specialized targeting and selection criteria and analytics to identify American and Saudi companies suitable for bilateral trade and investment within the U.S. and Kingdom’s markets. It is especially known for the activities and events it has organized such as trade missions, conferences, seminars and high-level networking business occasions. The three “U.S.-Saudi Business Opportunities Forums” held in Chicago, Atlanta and Los Angeles in 2010, 2011 and 2013 respectively, the largest gatherings of Saudi and American businesses in the relationship’s history are prime examples of the Council’s work in forging stronger ties between the two business communities. The Council publishes market essentials such as its “A Business Guide to Saudi Arabia” and specialized industry sector reports.
During his career, Mr. Burton has counseled hundreds of Fortune 500 companies as well as small and middle capitalized firms from a variety of industries such as oil and gas, downstream petrochemical, construction, medical, defense and security, information technology and technical services.
Prior to joining the Business Council, Mr. Burton served as the Commercial Attaché at the American Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He managed a staff of 27 officers, commercial specialists, and other local direct hire personnel serving offices in the cities of Riyadh, Jeddah and Dhahran. He was responsible for all U.S. Foreign Commercial Service (USFCS) operations in Saudi Arabia and had oversight of all USFCS management, administrative and fiscal matters in the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in the Kingdom. He also supervised USFCS operations in Manama, Bahrain through a partnership arrangement with the U.S. Embassy in Manama. Mr. Burton was also appointed directly by former U.S. Commerce Secretary Donald Evans to serve as the USFCS Regional Coordinator for the agency’s Iraq Reconstruction Regional Initiative.
Mr. Burton was the Director of the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Philadelphia. Prior to joining the U.S. Department of Commerce, he served former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman as the Director of the State of New Jersey’s International Trade Office.
Mr. Burton holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Charleston and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the Dickinson School of Law. He practiced law in New Jersey with the law firm Cooper Levenson. He also received certified international trade and management training at the Thunderbird School of International Business and the Harvard Business School of Publishing. He is the author of the upcoming book “Business and Entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia” published by John Wiley & Sons (August 2016).