The U.S. Department of the Treasury has announced that Robert M. “Skipp” Orr (RSI: 88., IEDP: 91), was confirmed on September 16, 2010 by the United States Senate to serve as the U.S. Executive Director to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), with the Rank of Ambassador.
As U.S. Executive Director to the ADB, Orr will serve on the Board of Directors. The Board makes decisions on loans, investments, grant and policy proposals; oversees the financial and management operations of the ADB; and provides broad strategic guidance to the ADB’s senior management.
During his statement before the Committee on Foreign Relations at the U.S. Senate in July 21, 2010, Orr spoke about the role of the ADB and about the opportunities and challenges ahead in Asia:
For all the excellent work that the AsDB does, I deeply appreciate that the Bank needs to continue to make improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of its operations. I believe the issues which members of Congress have highlighted as challenges to the institution are critical. Improvements need to be made in important areas, such as transparency and accountability.
Asia is the most dynamic region in our world. I have long been part of the region and seen this dynamism with my own eyes. And yet, it is simultaneously the region with the greatest number of impoverished people. Our challenge is to reconcile this disparity.
Orr is currently Chairman of the Board of the Panasonic Foundation, a member of the Board of Trustees of J.F. Obirin University and a former member of the Board of the East-West Center Foundation. From January 2002 until March 2007, Orr was President of Boeing Japan. He held this position during the development of the 787 Dreamliner.
Orr’s career began in 1976 when he served for two years as Legislative Assistant to Congressman Paul G. Rogers (D-FL) a 12-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Between 1978 and 1981, he served on the House Foreign Affairs Asia Subcommittee staff seconded from the Select Committee on Narcotics. In 1981 he was appointed as Special Assistant to the Assistant Administrator of Asia in the U.S. Agency for International Development in the Department of State.
Orr holds a B.A. in History, cum laude, from Florida Atlantic University, an M.A. in Government from Georgetown University and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Tokyo University. He is fluent in German and Japanese. Orr’s book, The Emergence of Japan’s Foreign Aid Power, published by Columbia University Press won the 1991 Ohira Prize for best book on the Asia Pacific.