The next United States ambassador to New Zealand has been named as Mark D. Gilbert - a former professional baseball player, banking executive and Democratic Party fundraiser.

He has just been nominated by President Barack Obama and nominees have to be approved by the Senate's relations committee.

According to the State Department, Mr Gilbert played major leagues baseball with the Chicago White Sox in 1985.

He is currently a director at Barclays Wealth, formerly Lehman Brothers, in West Palm Beach, Florida. He was senior vice president of Goldman Sachs in Miami from 1989 to 1996 and before that worked for Drexel Burnham Lambert, as an investment banker.


Mr Gilbert was on the Obama for America National Finance Committee, Mr Obama's first presidential campaign and his re-election campaign.

He was the Democratic National Committee's Deputy National Finance Chair from 2009 to 2013.

He also served on the Democrats Finance Committee when his new boss, Secretary of State John Kerry, ran for president in 2004.

Once approved, Mr Gilbert will replace David Huebner, an international trade lawyer, who assumed his post in 2009.

Relations between New Zealand and the United States have almost returned to normal after 25 years of reprisals by the United States in response to New Zealand's anti-nuclear position.