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Trump To Tap Bill Hagerty, Former TN Economic Development Chief, As Ambassador To Japan

The incoming Trump administration will nominate Bill Hagerty of Nashville as ambassador to Japan to replace Ambassador Caroline Kennedy. Hagerty is a founder and managing director of Hagerty Peterson & Co, a private equity investment firm with offices in Nashville and Chicago, and has led the charge to attract an MLS team to Nashville.


Word of the appointment was first reported by Nikkei yesterday, and later corroborated by Reuters. The Trump transition site,, hasn't officially posted the news as of Thursday morning. Reportedly Hagerty had been considered for US Trade Representative, but Robert Lighthizer, a former Reagan administration official, has been named to that post.

Last July, Hagerty took a leave of absence from his private equity firm to serve as director of presidential appointments for the Trump team, where he's responsible for the planning and execution of the post-filling aspects of the transition, one that ultimately encompasses over 4,000 presidential appointments. 

Over the past year, Hagerty has led a group of local business leaders whose goal is to bring a Major League Soccer franchise to Nashville. He is also on the board of The Fred Jones Cos, the automotive affiliate of Hall Capital. 


Hagerty served in the Cabinet of Gov. Bill Haslam as the Commissioner of Department of Economic and Community Development until 2015. His team facilitated over 700 transactions, securing commitments for more than $15B in capital investment and 90,000 jobs in the state. 

Hagerty was also responsible for the Tennessee Film Entertainment and Music Commission during his time in state government. During his tenure, the commission invested more than $35M in the show Nashville, which is now syndicated in more than 60 countries and seen by more than 8 million viewers each week. The series has had a strong impact on the growth of the Nashville economy and local tourism. 

He began his career with The Boston Consulting Group and served on the White House staff during the first Bush administration, with assignments in international trade, commerce, treasury, defense and telecom. He was selected as a White House Fellow reporting to the vice president. Hagerty then joined Trident Capital and subsequently formed his own private equity firm, Hagerty Peterson. Hagerty spent three years in Tokyo while with Boston Consulting Group.