Jon Huntsman Fast Facts | CNN Politics


Here’s a look at the life of Jon Huntsman, former Utah Governor and 2012 Republican presidential candidate.

Birth date: March 26, 1960

Birth place: Palo Alto, California

Birth name: Jon Meade Huntsman Jr.

Father: Jon Meade Huntsman Sr., billionaire chemical magnate

Mother: Karen (Haight) Huntsman

Marriage: Mary Kaye Cooper (1983-present)

Children: Asha Bharati, adopted from India; Gracie Mei, adopted from China; William, Jon III, Elizabeth, Abigail and Mary Anne

Education: Attended University of Utah, 1978-1980; University of Pennsylvania, B.A. in Political Science, 1987

Religion: Mormon

Dropped out of high school in his senior year to play piano with local bands. The University of Utah, at the time, allowed completion of high school coursework after admission.

Served a two-year Mormon mission in Taiwan.

Speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese.

Worked as legislative intern for Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT).

His father owned the company that invented the McDonald’s Big Mac clamshell box.

The family chemical business, Huntsman Corp., is a global enterprise with subsidiaries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North and South America.

Huntsman has served on numerous boards, including Caterpillar Inc., the US Naval Academy Foundation, Hilton Worldwide and the National Committee on US-China Relations.

1982-1983 – White House staff assistant to President Ronald Reagan.

1983-1989 – Executive at Huntsman Corp.

1989-1990 – Deputy assistant secretary for the Trade Development Bureau of the Commerce Department.

1990-1991 – Deputy assistant secretary of Commerce for East Asia and the Pacific.

1992-1993 – US ambassador to Singapore.

1995-2001 – President of Huntsman Cancer Foundation.

2001-2003 – Deputy US trade representative.

2001 – Divests of most personal stock upon becoming trade representative, including that held by his wife and held in the trust for his children.

2003-2004 – Chairman and CEO of Huntsman Family Holdings Co.

2004 – Places personal assets, 1.5% of Huntsman Family Holdings Co. in blind trust during gubernatorial campaign.

2005-2009 – 16th Governor of Utah, resigns in 2009 to become US ambassador to China.

2005 – Divests all personal holdings in Huntsman Corp.

July 2006 – Endorses Senator John McCain (R-AZ) in the 2008 presidential race.

2008 – Serves as national co-chairman of McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign.

August 7, 2009 – Huntsman is confirmed by the US Senate as US ambassador to China.

August 11, 2009-April 30, 2011 – Ambassador to China.

January 2011 – Delivers letter of resignation to President Barack Obama, stating his intention to step down as ambassador on April 30, 2011.

June 21, 2011 – Announces candidacy for 2012 GOP nomination for president at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey, the same place Reagan launched his campaign in 1980.

October 18, 2011 – Boycotts the CNN/Western Republican Presidential Debate out of deference to New Hampshire, which is locked in a political scheduling fight with Nevada.

January 16, 2012 – Withdraws from the Republican presidential race and endorses former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

January 26, 2012 – Huntsman is named chairman of the Huntsman Cancer Foundation.

June 20, 2012 – The Brookings Institution announces that Huntsman will serve as a distinguished fellow.

January 3, 2013 – The bipartisan political group No Labels names Huntsman and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) as leaders of the organization.

January 15, 2014 – The Atlantic Council names Huntsman chairman of its board of directors.

September 3, 2014 – Huntsman tells the Deseret News he feels same-sex marriage across the country is “inevitable,” and rules out another run for president in 2016.

July 18, 2017 – The White House announces that President Donald Trump has chosen Huntsman to be the US ambassador to Russia.

September 28, 2017 – The Senate confirms Huntsman as ambassador to Russia.

November 1, 2018 – The Deseret News publishes an interview in which Huntsman reveals he has stage one skin cancer.

August 6, 2019 – Huntsman submits his resignation letter to President Trump. His resignation is effective October 3.

November 14, 2019 – Announces he is running for governor of Utah in 2020.

February 7, 2020 – Huntsman announces Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi as his running mate in the Utah gubernatorial race.

July 6, 2020 – Hunstman concedes Utah’s GOP gubernatorial primary race to Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox.

September 8, 2020 Chevron announces that Huntsman has been reelected to the board of directors, effective September 15. Huntsman previously served on the board from 2014 to 2017.

October 2020 Reelected to the board of directors for Ford Motor Company, after serving on the board from 2012 to 2017.

January 21, 2021 – Named chair of World Trade Center Utah (WTC Utah), an organization promoting the state’s businesses globally.

March 11, 2024 – Is hired by Mastercard as the vice chairman and president of strategic growth.

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