James C. O'Brien
James O’Brien is Vice Chair of ASG, where he helps lead the firm’s client engagements in the consumer goods, health, entertainment, environment, and finance sectors. Mr. O’Brien draws on decades of experience leading high-profile international negotiations to assist clients in identifying strategic partnerships in local markets, securing contracts, expanding market share, and resolving regulatory and legal disputes. He has a special focus on operations in transitional states around the world, including Central and Eastern Europe, Turkey and Central Asia.
Mr. O’Brien is also a member of the Management Committee of Albright Capital Management, an affiliated investment advisory firm focused on emerging markets.
Previously, Mr. O’Brien served in the State Department as Special Presidential Envoy for the Balkans, with responsibility for U.S. diplomatic, economic, and security policy in the region. He also served as Senior Adviser to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, as well as Principal Deputy Director of Policy Planning, charged with post-conflict planning and ensuring that the Department’s priorities and its $23 billion budget were aligned.
He also served as Adviser to then-United Nations Ambassador Albright, and was Attorney Adviser at the Department of State starting in 1989. In these roles he developed, negotiated, and helped implement U.S foreign policy, including scientific, environmental, nonproliferation, and military decisions.
Mr. O’Brien participated in numerous high-profile international negotiations, including the Dayton Agreement, which ended the Bosnian conflict. He also guided U.S. support for the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and finalized agreements to control weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union.
He also negotiated agreements protecting intellectual property rights for scientific cooperation with China; promoted environmentally sound international trade regulations for hazardous and recyclable materials; and worked to make public-private partnerships and corporate social responsibility a central element in American foreign policy.
Mr. O’Brien earned a B.A. from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, a Master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh, and a J.D. from Yale Law School.
He is based in Washington, DC.