Thomas Pickering is vice chairman of Hills & Company, an international consulting firm providing advice to U.S. businesses on investment, trade, and risk assessment issues abroad, particularly in emerging market economies. He retired in 2006 as senior vice president of international relations for Boeing Company, where he was responsible for relations with foreign governments and the company's globalization. He has had a career spanning five decades as a U.S. diplomat, serving as under secretary of state for political affairs, ambassador to the U.N., and ambassador to Russia, India, Israel, Nigeria, Jordan, and El Salvador. He holds the personal rank of Career Ambassador, the highest in the U.S. Foreign Service. He has held numerous other positions at the State Department, including executive secretary and special assistant to Secretaries Rogers and Kissinger and assistant secretary for the bureau of oceans, environmental and scientific affairs. Pickering is a member of the International Institute of Strategic Studies and the Council on Foreign Relations.