Thomas Pickering is vice chairman of the international consulting firm Hills & Company. He retired in 2006 as senior vice president, international relations, for Boeing. He has had a career spanning five decades as a U.S. diplomat, serving as undersecretary of state for political affairs, ambassador to the United Nations, 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.