Ken Howery, co-founder of PayPal and a close associate of Peter Thiel, has been named President Trump’s pick for ambassador to Sweden, per an announcement from the White House on Tuesday.
Howery and Thiel have worked together for decades. The pair both were a part of the founding team at PayPal, and continued that partnership at both Clarium Capital and Founders Fund, along with the controversial data analytics company Palantir. Howery was particularly involved in Founders Fund’s early investment in SpaceX.
Thiel was one of the most prominent Silicon Valley to publicly support Donald Trump in the 2016 election cycle, even giving a speech at the Republican National Convention in support of the candidate. Thiel also engaged in a secret legal campaign against the website Gawker, which culminated in the site’s bankrupcty. Those has come at some cost to Thiel, with Y Combinator publicly cutting ties with Thiel in 2017, although he remains an influential board member at Facebook.
Following the inauguration, Thiel has served as a counsel for the president on technology-related issues, and put together a panel for him including some of the most prominent tech executives in the country.