Edward Burton is the Chief Executive Officer and President of the U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council. Mr. Burton works with the American and Saudi public and private sectors to promote the interests of the U.S.-Saudi Arabian bilateral commercial relationship. The U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council was established in December 1993 to improve the mutual knowledge and understanding between the private sectors of the United States and Saudi Arabia, and to promote trade and investment between the two countries. The Council’s activities include organizing trade missions, conferences, seminars and high-level networking events such as the three “U.S.-Saudi Business Opportunities Forums” held in 2010, 2011 and 2013 in Chicago, Atlanta, and Los Angeles, respectively. These programs have consistently been the largest gatherings of Saudi and American businesses in the history of the bilateral relationship. The Council also regularly publishes market information and analysis including “A Business Guide to Saudi Arabia”, a bi-monthly newsletter, the “U.S.-Saudi Business Brief”, and specialized industry sector reports. The Council’s activities are focused on highlighting the more than $1 trillion in Saudi earmarked projects and market opportunities in Saudi Arabia. Mr. Burton has counseled hundreds of Fortune 500 companies as well as small and middle tier firms in a variety of industries such as construction, medical and pharmaceutical, defense & security, information technology and technical services.
Prior to joining the Business Council, Mr. Burton served as the Commercial Attaché at the American Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He managed a staff of 27 officers, commercial specialists and other local direct hire personnel serving offices in the cities of Riyadh, Jeddah and Dhahran. He was responsible for all U.S. Foreign Commercial Service (USFCS) operations in Saudi Arabia and had oversight of all USFCS management, administrative and fiscal matters in the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in the Kingdom. He also supervised USFCS operations in Manama, Bahrain through a partnership arrangement with the U.S. Embassy in Manama. Mr. Burton was also appointed directly by former U.S. Commerce Secretary Donald Evans to serve as the USFCS Regional Coordinator for the agency’s Iraq Reconstruction Regional Initiative.
Prior to being assigned to the Embassy in Riyadh, Mr. Burton was the Director of the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Philadelphia. Prior to joining the U.S. Department of Commerce, he served former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman as the State of New Jersey’s International Trade Director.
Mr. Burton holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Charleston and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the Dickinson School of Law. He practiced law in New Jersey with the law firm Cooper Levenson. He also received certified international trade and management training at the Thunderbird School of International Business and the Harvard Business School of Publishing.