Michael Hecht Named Honorary Consul of the Republic of Finland

NEW ORLEANS — Michael Hecht, president and CEO of Greater New Orleans Inc., has been named honorary consul of the Republic of Finland. He will follow Philip deV. Claverie Sr., a senior partner at Phelps Dunbar law firm, who retired after serving as honorary consul of Finland for more than 19 years.

“With his expertise in business development, Michael is uniquely positioned to represent Finland’s interests in his consular district, and U.S. investments in Finland,” said Claverie. “I am delighted that he will succeed me, and I am sure that he will enjoy the experience as much as I have.”

“It is a thrill and an honor to follow in the footsteps of Honorary Consul Claverie,” said Hecht. “The opportunities for economic, cultural, and policy connections between Louisiana and Finland are legion. I am grateful to the consulate general of Finland, the Louisiana Consular Corps, and everyone who has supported this appointment.”

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Hecht’s appointment as the new honorary consul was made by the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and was approved by the U.S. State Department. The honorary consul of Finland is a member of the Louisiana Consular Corps, which currently represents over 40 countries from around the world.

“The honorary consul of Finland performs a number of duties, including: promotion of trade opportunities, encouragement of investment, facilitation of cultural exchanges, assistance to Finnish citizens and travelers, as well as general overall promotion of the Finnish/Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas relationship,” said Mika Koskinen, consul general of Finland. “I am very happy to have found Michael Hecht to represent us. With his expertise, talent to create contact networks and know-how of Nordic countries, I am sure that he will be very successful as honorary consul of Finland.”

“The Louisiana Consular Corps is the oldest and one of the largest consular corps in the U.S. today, said Bret Clesi, dean of the Louisiana Consular Corps, and honorary consul general of the Republic of Albania. “It strives to encourage business, educational, and cultural ties between Louisiana and the international community. Through the excellent services of retiring Finnish Honorary Consul Philip Claverie, Finland strengthened the relationship created by another New Orleanian, Ambassador Jack Weinmann, during his service at the U.S. Embassy in Helsinki. In addition to his two decades of service to Finland and to the Louisiana Consular Corps, Honorary Consul Claverie has achieved another diplomatic coup in the appointment of Honorary Consul Michael Hecht to succeed him. Honorary Consul Hecht will become a very valuable member of the Consular Corps at a crucial time in global geopolitics. He will be formally welcomed by the Consular Corps at its March 15 meeting in New Orleans.”

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Greater New Orleans Inc. has a dedicated international trade department that works in close partnership with the Louisiana Consular Corps. The economic development organization recently partnered with the World Trade Center of New Orleans to bring additional resources and focus to international relations. As Honorary Consul of Finland, Hecht will be able to leverage these relationships to redouble work on economic development opportunities in Finland and the Nordic countries.

Hecht has a number of connections to Finland and the Nordic countries. His wife is Danish, their children have all studied in Denmark, and he has extended family in diplomatic service in Europe (and Asia). Hecht has worked with Finnish companies and colleagues here in New Orleans, as well as in Australia, where he lived as a management consultant.

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