The Ocean Elders
Catherine A. Novelli
Catherine A. Novelli served as Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment from 2014 until 2017, reporting directly to the Secretary of State. She led the State Department’s efforts to develop and implement economic growth, energy, ocean, environmental, and science and technology policies to promote economic prosperity and address global challenges in a transparent, rules-based, and sustainable system. She was also the State Department’s Senior Coordinator for International Information Technology Diplomacy.
In addition to her global role on economic engagement and opening markets for U.S. products and services, Under Secretary Novelli spearheaded the first-of- its-kind Our Ocean movement which, during her tenure, resulted in $10 billion for Ocean conservation from governments, private sector, NGOs and philanthropists and catalyzed governments worldwide to create over 11 million square kilometers of Marine Protected Areas — roughly the size of the continent of Africa. Under Secretary Novelli engaged extensively to promote adoption of renewable energy, including with China, India, and in Africa. She also elevated international diplomacy on innovation in science and technology.
Prior to assuming her duties as Under Secretary of State, she spent seven years as Vice President, Worldwide Government Affairs at Apple Inc. In that role, Ms. Novelli headed a multinational international team responsible for Apple’s federal, international, and state and local government relations and public policy.
Prior to her position at Apple, Ms. Novelli was a partner in the law firm of Mayer Brown International where she provided legal and policy advice to Fortune 100 companies.
Formerly Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Europe & the Mediterranean, Ms. Novelli coordinated U.S. trade and investment policy for the over 65 countries of Western Europe, Central Europe, Russia, Eurasia, the Middle East and Northern Africa. As the point person for the $1 trillion economic relationship between the United States and Europe, Ms. Novelli led efforts to ensure access to the European market for U.S. products.
Ms. Novelli was the lead strategist in creating the United States’ free trade agenda with the Middle East. She led free trade agreement negotiations with Jordan, Morocco and Bahrain, Oman and United Arab Emirates. As the Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia, she negotiated most of the bilateral trade and investment agreements that underpin our economic relationship in that region.
In addition her role as an Ocean Elder, Ms. Novelli currently serves on the Board of the Pristine Seas Initiative of the National Geographic Society.
Ms. Novelli is a graduate of Tufts University, holds a law degree from the University of Michigan and a Master of Laws from University of London (with concentrations in international and comparative law at the London School of Economics and School of Oriental and Asian Studies).