Rhett Dawson is a skilled, creative advisor and mentor. His experience--at the
White House, in Congress, in the legal and corporate sectors and as CEO of a leading technology industry organization. At present, he is a consultant to companies, helping them navigate policies, obstacles and economic regulations of the Washington business and policy thicket.
As President and CEO of the Information Technology Council for fifteen years Rhett capped his ITI tenure by initiating and executing a series of strategic plans that identified and implemented measurable corporate objectives that transformed the industry group into a dynamic, net-oriented highly relevant powerhouse.
He was selected to become President and CEO in 1993 to turn around a failing entity with a strong legacy. In his first years at ITI, he organized a coalition with global business groups to support eliminating tariffs on hundreds of IT products. The result was the Information Technology Agreement concluded at the Singapore Ministerial Conference in 1996. This first ITA played a catalytic role in the emergence of the digital economy and is regarded as one of the most successful international trade agreements.
Prior to ITI, Rhett was a practicing lawyer, a senior vice president, law and public policy at a Fortune 250 company and a government executive. In the Reagan White House, Rhett was Assistant to the President for Operations with broad responsibilities: managing paper flow; ensuring the smooth running of internal processes; and overseeing the Office of Administration, the White House Office and the White House Military Office. This ranged from clearing every speech, public statement, executive order and nomination as the last stop before they went to the President, to overseeing support activities such as Air Force One and the communications and continuity of government functions. Prior to the White House assignment, Rhett was Director of the President’s Special Review Board which investigated and reported detailed findings on the Iran-Contra affair. The President agreed with the Board’s recommendation and adopted them by executive order.
At Chairman David Packard’s request, he took a leave of absence from his law firm to be executive director of the President’s Blue-Ribbon Commission on Defense Management. The Packard Commission’s transformational organizational recommendations were incorporated into a presidential executive order. Rhett got his start on Capitol Hill as Minority Counsel to the so-called Church Committee, investigating intelligence activities of the CIA, DoD, FBI and the White House. After that assignment, he joined the staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee and became Staff Director under Chairman John Tower (R-TX). A former Army counterintelligence officer, he served on the West Point Board of Visitors after his appointment by President Reagan. Rhett has served on a panel of advisors to eight Secretaries of Defense.
He is a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University, which recognized Rhett as the 2001 Alumnus of the Year. He earned his law degree at the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis and is a member of the Missouri Bar as well as the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. Rhett and his wife, Mimi, reside in McLean, Virginia. They have two grown children and two grandchildren.