Weber Shandwick chairman Jack Leslie has been appointed by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker to serve on an advisory council that will make recommendations on President Obama’s business initiatives in Africa.

Leslie is one of nearly two dozen professionals appointed to the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa. PAC-DBIA appointees, who represent the private sector from a multitude of industries, will advise the Secretary of Commerce on ways to develop and strengthen commercial relations between the U.S. and Africa.

Jack Leslie
Jack Leslie

The President established that council with his signage of a 2014 executive order as a means of providing him analysis and guidance on how to strengthen U.S./Africa ties. The PAC-DBIA appointments comes on the heels of the second U.S.-Africa Business Forum, which takes place today in New York.

Leslie in 2009 was appointed by President Obama to serve as chairman of the board of directors of the U.S. African Development Foundation, an independent government agency that provides grants and supports development to benefit marginalized groups in Sub-Saharan Africa. President George W. Bush initially appointed Leslie to the USADF’s board in 2003.

Leslie is also chairman of the U.S. Agency for International Development Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid and chairman of the Ron Brown Scholar Program and former Chairman of the Board of USA for the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the Board of Advisors of the Duke Global Health Institute.

Leslie, who began his career as an aide to Senator Edward Kennedy, in1983 joined political consulting firm Sawyer Miller Group, where he served as president. He was later chairman of PR firm Bozell Sawyer Miller, which eventually merged with the Weber Group and Shandwick International to form Weber Shandwick.

As chairman of Weber Shandwick, Leslie helped lead the Interpublic unit’s expansion into Africa.