Ambassador Karel Kovanda is a senior public policy advisor in Covington’s EU Public Policy Practice Group. A former diplomat and non-lawyer, Ambassador Kovanda has a wealth of experience, having held extensive diplomatic and private sector positions.
From 2005 to 2010, Ambassador Kovanda worked as Deputy Director-General of Relex (now the European External Action Service) in the European Commission. He was responsible inter alia for relationships with non-EU OECD countries, human rights and international organizations. In 2007, he chaired the Kimberley Process (combating “blood diamonds”) and for a number of years co-chaired the EU-Japan Regulatory Reform Dialogue.
Prior to that (1998-2005), he served as the Czech Permanent Representative (Ambassador) to NATO, including as Dean of the NATO diplomatic corps (2004-5), after having acted as a Czech Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs (1997-8).
Ambassador Kovanda also held several positions at the United Nations, where he served as the Czech Permanent Representative (Ambassador) from 1993-1997. He was Vice-President and subsequently President of the UN Economic and Social Council (1996-97) as well as a member of the UN Security Council (1994-5), including two monthly terms as President. He played a particularly important role in the debates concerning the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
In the private sector, Ambassador Kovanda most recently held a management position at a major Czech energy company where he worked from 2013 to the end of 2014. In this role, he oversaw the company’s relationship with the European institutions which included lobbying and monitoring legislative developments. He has also held management positions in several US companies, covering a broad range of sectors.
Ambassador Kovanda is part of Covington’s global public policy team, which includes experienced lawyers as well as other former senior policymakers. The team advises clients on a range of European public affairs issues, including the EU policy-making processes and functioning of the European institutions.