Amb. Lee Feinstein to Become President of McLarty Associates

December 16, 2021

Washington, DC 


McLarty Associates (MA), an international advisory firm that help clients manage policy and government issues around the world, today announces senior leadership changes that will position the firm for continued international growth and superior client service.

Nelson W. Cunningham, who co-founded the firm in 1998, will transition from President to Vice Chairman. He will be succeeded as President by Ambassador Lee Feinstein, a global thought-leader whose career spans government service, higher education, think tanks and the private sector, and who is a longtime member of the MA team. The leadership transition, effective February 1, 2022, will ensure that McLarty Associates can continue to provide high-caliber expertise and services to its clients for decades to come.

“Nelson and I are extremely proud of what we have built together over the past 23 years,” said Thomas F. McLarty III, Chairman and Co-Founder of McLarty Associates. “This transition process is part of a long-term effort to institutionalize the firm and ensure that it will thrive long beyond its founders. Lee’s experience in senior positions at the Department of State, his service as Ambassador to an important European ally, building a world-class international affairs school at one of America’s great public universities, and working with our team and our clients since 2013, makes him eminently qualified to take the firm’s reins.”

“I am looking forward to staying deeply engaged with the McLarty Associates team, especially as we continue deepening our relationship with Ankura Consulting,” said current President Nelson Cunningham. “I am delighted to have such a seasoned and capable successor, and I am confident that McLarty and its clients will continue to benefit from our long-term dedication to integrity, excellence, and superb client service. Working with our McLarty colleagues has been the privilege of my life, and I look forward to continuing to do so.”

“I’m deeply grateful for this opportunity to serve full-time with Mack McLarty and this outstanding team, now in partnership with Ankura,” said incoming President Lee Feinstein. “I am honored and excited to lead the firm further into its third decade.”

Ambassador John D. Negroponte, who has served as Vice Chairman since joining the firm in 2009, will continue to serve in that role.

On November 17, 2021, McLarty and Ankura announced that McLarty would become part of the Ankura family of consultants effective at year-end. Nelson and Lee will work closely to ensure smooth integration, and that the enormous benefits expected to accrue to us and our clients are realized.


Ambassador Lee Feinstein is the incoming President of McLarty Associates and has been a long-time advisor to the firm’s Europe and Eurasia practice. Since 2014, he has served as founding Dean at the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies (HLS) at Indiana University Bloomington.

Ambassador Feinstein has held senior positions at the Departments of State and Defense, including as Principal Deputy Director of the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff and as US Ambassador to Poland. He was a presidentially-appointed trustee of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Feinstein served on the Obama-Biden State Department Transition Team in 2008.

Earlier, Feinstein served as Deputy Director of Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Director of the Council’s task force program that convened nonpartisan, blue-ribbon commissions on major foreign policy challenges facing the United States.


Nelson W. Cunningham will become Vice Chairman of McLarty Associates in February 2022. Under Mr. Cunningham’s leadership, McLarty Associates has developed into a firm with global reach and over one hundred employees and advisors, stationed in Washington and around the world.

Prior to co-founding McLarty Associates in 1998, Mr. Cunningham served in the White House as Special Advisor to President Clinton on Western Hemisphere affairs and as General Counsel at the White House Office of Administration. He previously served as General Counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee, under then-Chairman Joseph R. Biden. He also served on the Obama-Biden transition team in 2008 and has advised every Democratic presidential campaign since 2004 on foreign policy and trade matters.