Tom Smart, Deseret News
Former Utah Governor and GOP Presidential Primary candidate Jon Huntsman Jr., talks in during an interview Tuesday, May 1, 2012, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Huntsman was named chairman of the Atlantic Council Wednesday.

SALT LAKE CITY — Former Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. was named chairman of the Atlantic Council on Wednesday.

Huntsman succeeds Chuck Hagel, who stepped down last year after being named President Barack Obama's secretary of defense. Utah native Brent Scowcroft, a former U.S national security adviser, had been serving as interim chairman.

Scowcroft described Huntsman, a GOP candidate for president in 2012 and former U.S. ambassador to China, as "a first-class global thinker, public servant and business leader all rolled into one person."

1 comment on this story

The council, based in Washington, D.C., and founded in 1961, is a nonpartisan think tank that describes itself as promoting "constructive leadership and engagement in international affairs."

Huntsman said in a statement that the council is poised to play an increasingly important global role.

“We are at a historic inflection point where consistent and constructive U.S. leadership alongside our European allies — and in close cooperation with other global partners — will be decisive in shaping the future,” he said.

— Lisa Riley Roche