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William Earl Kennard, B.A., ’81 J.D.


William E. Kennard is a co-founding partner of Astra Capital Management, a private equity firm. Before founding Astra Capital, Mr. Kennard was U.S. ambassador to the European Union.

William Earl Kennard

Appointed by President Obama in November 2009, he promoted transatlantic trade and investment and worked to eliminate regulatory barriers to commerce. Prior to his appointment as U.S. ambassador, he was managing director of the global private equity firm The Carlyle Group, where he led investments in the telecommunications and media sectors. Mr. Kennard also served as general counsel and later as chair of the Federal Communications Commission. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University. After earning a law degree at Yale, he joined the firm of Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand (now DLA Piper), where he was a partner and member of the board of directors. Mr. Kennard is chair of the board of AT&T, Inc., and serves on the boards of Ford Motor Company and MetLife, Inc. A former member of the University Council, he was named a successor trustee in 2014.

Resides in Charleston, South Carolina