European Union External Action


David O'SULLIVAN's picture
Real name: 

Ambassador David O'Sullivan Biography

Follow the Ambassador on Twitter

Ambassador O’Sullivan has a long and distinguished career that spans five decades.  He has served in a number of senior official posts in the European public service.

Prior to his appointment as EU Ambassador to the U.S., he was the Chief Operating Officer of the ‘European External Action Service’ and responsible for establishing this new EU diplomatic service.  The Service is one of the largest diplomatic networks with 140 delegations across the globe.

Ambassador O’Sullivan’s career includes a number of notable and senior positions within the European Commission: Head of Commission President Prodi’s Cabinet (1999-2000), Secretary General of the European Commission (2000-2005).  He has extensive trade experience as Director General for Trade (2005-2010) and Chief Negotiator for the Doha Development Round.  He was responsible for overseeing the launch of a number of free trade agreements and concluded the EU’s agreement with South Korea. Before joining the Commission, he started his career with the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (1977-1979).

Early European Commission Career Timeline



Mr. O’Sullivan graduated from Trinity College, Dublin with a degree in Economics and Sociology (1975) and completed post-graduate studies at the College of Europe, Bruges (1976).

While at Trinity, he was Auditor and debating Gold medalist of the College Historical Society and winner of the Irish Times debating competition.

He holds an Honorary Doctorate from the Dublin Institute of Technology (2005) and was awarded a second Honorary Doctorate from his alma mater Trinity College, Dublin (2014). He has also been a visiting Professor at the European College of Parma. 


Honors and Awards

–  EU Transatlantic Business Award by the American Chamber of Commerce (June 2014).

–  Alumnus of the Year by the College of Europe (2013).

–  European of the Year by the European Movement of Ireland (1999).


Personal Biography

Mr. O’Sullivan was born in 1953 in Dublin, Ireland.  He is married to the architect Agnes O’Hare and they have two children.

He is no stranger to the U.S. having travelled extensively across the States and spent his early life attending grade school in California.

He speaks English, French, Spanish, German, Japanese and Irish.