Frederick Kempe

President and CEO

Kempe Fred 175

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Global Trends, US Foreign Policy


Europe, European Union, Germany



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Recent Activity

  • July 14, 2015
    Nuclear agreement will have ‘strategic cost’ for US alliances in the Middle East, says Retired Adm. Stavridis The nuclear deal reached July 14 that limits Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief will have a significant impact on the
  • June 04, 2015
    Panel looks at view from the Middle East, examines US’ role Few people would be surprised to learn that people in the Middle East—just like Americans—care first and foremost about bread-and-butter issues, their lives, and the lives of their families.
  • May 28, 2015
    Reports by Atlantic Council and Boris Nemtsov’s allies reveal extent of Russia’s military aggression in Ukraine Russian President Vladimir Putin is violating a February 2015 ceasefire agreement by continuing to send troops and weapons into Ukraine in a blatant attempt
  • May 01, 2015
    Breedlove, Ghani, Hewson, and Keith receive Atlantic Council’s Distinguished Leadership Award What do Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, Ashraf Ghani, Marillyn A. Hewson, and Toby Keith have in common? The answer to that question is probably: not much. That was until
  • April 30, 2015
    The Washington establishment is unprepared for the technological and geopolitical risks of the future, America is losing influence around the world—and while the United States is still indispensable as a superpower, there’s debate on whether it ought to remain so.
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Full Bio

Frederick Kempe has held the position of President and CEO of the Atlantic Council since December 1, 2006.

He is the author of four books, and a regular commentator on television and radio both in Europe and the United States. His latest book, BERLIN 1961: Kennedy, Khrushchev and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth (foreword by Gen. Brent Scowcroft) was published by Putnam in 2012 and is a New York Times bestseller. Under his leadership, the Council has achieved significant growth while considerably expanding its staff, work, and influence in areas that include international security, business and economics, energy and environment, and global issues of transatlantic interest ranging from Asia to Africa.

He comes to the Council from a prominent twenty-five-year career at the Wall Street Journal, where he won national and international recognition while serving in numerous senior editorial and reportorial capacities. His last position with the paper was in New York, where he served as Assistant Managing Editor, International, and "Thinking Global" Columnist. Prior to that, he was for seven years the longest-serving Editor and Associate Publisher ever of the Wall Street Journal Europe, simultaneously functioning as European Editor for the Global Wall Street Journal from 2002 to 2005. During this time he managed six news bureaus, several satellite offices, a Brussels news desk operation, and he oversaw European and Middle Eastern reporting.

Throughout his tenure as Editor and Associate Publisher, the newspaper won a number of awards including the prestigious Harold Wincott Award as UK Business Journal of the Year, the Media Tenor Award as the top international paper in Europe, and multiple "Business Journalist of the Year" prizes from the World Leadership Forum in London. His teams participated in two Pulitzer Prizes. As Managing Editor of the Wall Street Journal Europe from 1992 to 1997, he founded and managed the Central European Economic Review (CEER), which covered the countries of the former Soviet bloc. In 1993 he also cofounded Convergence, a magazine on Europe’s digital economy.

Kempe joined Journal in 1981 in London before opening the paper's Vienna bureau in 1984. He transferred to Washington, DC, in 1986 as Chief Diplomatic Correspondent, and in 1990 opened its Berlin bureau. As a reporter, he covered a number of significant stories, including the rise of solidarity in Poland and the growing resistance to Soviet rule, the coming to power of Mikhail Gorbachev in Russia and all his summit meetings with Ronald Reagan, war reporting in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon in the 1980s, and the American invasion of Panama. He also covered the unification of Germany and the collapse of Soviet communism.

He is a graduate of the University of Utah and has a master’s degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he was a member of the International Fellows Program in the School of International Affairs. He has received honorary doctorates from the University of Maryland University College and from Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina and is a Visiting Fellow at Oxford University's Said School of Business. He has won the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism's top alumni achievement award and the University of Utah's prize for the top young alumnus.

He serves on a number of Boards of Directors, including the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at Johns Hopkins University, and is on the Advisory Board of the Transatlantic Policy Network as well as the International Advisory Council of Atlantik-Bruecke e.V. in Berlin. He also served on the Senior Advisory Group of Admiral James Stavridis, Commander, US European Command (EUCOM). He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Kempe speaks German and is the son of German immigrants who came to the United States before World War II. His wife, Pamela Meyer, is the CEO of Calibrate. They live with their daughter, Johanna, in Washington, DC.

Permission to reuse this biography and accompanying photo is granted under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA) and the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL).