After two years leading the Commerce Department’s U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service (USFCS), Assistant Secretary for Trade Promotion Suresh Kumar announced his decision today to return to the private sector.
The USFCS, which is part of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, is a global network of trade specialists with offices across America and in more than 70 countries around the world. The organization’s job is to help connect U.S. companies looking to sell their products overseas with foreign buyers.
On Kumar’s watch, the Commercial Service has gotten better results with fewer resources. It’s also gone from an organization that tended to measure its progress with difficult-to-quantify anecdotes to one that’s metrics driven – a change that’s been critical in helping determine what’s working and what isn’t in the Department’s efforts to meet President Obama’s National Export Initiative goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014.
“Ultimately, leaders are measured by whether they leave an organization better than they found it,” U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson said. “With the changes Suresh helped usher in, the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service is, without question, in a better position to succeed today. “Improvements to the technology available to USFCS staff and the repositioning of Commercial Service Officers to markets with the best potential for U.S. export growth will benefit American businesses eager to export for years to come.”
Just a few statistics illustrate how the organization has grown stronger and more effective during Kumar’s tenure:In 2009, 158 U.S. companies went on Commerce-organized trade missions. Last year, there were 527.In 2009, there were 8,900 participants in Commerce’s International Buyers Program, which recruits qualified foreign buyers, sales representatives and business partners to U.S. trade shows. Last year, there were 15,600.
“Those measurements tell a good story, but the statistic that’s most important to me and to the President is 303,000; that’s the number of jobs supported last year by the exports the USFCS helped facilitate,” Bryson said.That figure has more than doubled since 2009. “We wish Suresh the best in his future endeavors, and I know he’ll continue to support the expansion of global trade in the private sector.”
Kumar has agreed to stay on until March 2 to help with the transition.