President Obama nominated Michael A. Lawson to be the U.S. Representative to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on September 11, 2013. The U.S. Senate approved the nomination on July 21, 2014. Ambassador Lawson was sworn in by Federal District Court Judge Terry J. Hatter, Jr., on July 22, 2014, in Los Angeles. Ambassador Lawson presented his credentials to ICAO Council President Benard Aliu and Secretary General Raymond Benjamin on July 25, 2014.
Michael A. Lawson is the immediate past President of the Board of Airport Commissioners (BOAC) for Los Angeles World Airports, which oversees Los Angeles International Airport, Los Angeles/Ontario International Airport and Van Nuys Airport. Mr. Lawson served as a member of the BOAC from 2005 – 2013 and as President of the BOAC from December 2010 – August 2013.
While serving as a member of the Board of Airport Commissioners, Mr. Lawson was also a Partner with the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, where he led the Executive Compensation and Employee Benefits Group for the Los Angeles office and the west coast. Mr. Lawson served as an attorney with Skadden for more than 31 years until his retirement in December of 2011. In his role at Skadden, he regularly advised trustees of pension and other employee benefits funds as well as board directors of companies that sponsor pension plans and financial institutions that manage pension plan assets regarding issues involving fiduciary responsibility and other matters. He also provided advice in the context of merger and acquisition transactions, bankruptcy, litigation and other matters. He has consistently been recognized as one of “America’s Leading Lawyers for Business” by Chambers USA as well as a “Southern California Super Lawyer.”
Mr. Lawson also served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the California State Teachers Retirement System (CALSTRS), which is the second largest retirement system in the United States (appointed by the Governor of California for a term ending December 31, 2013) as well as the Oversight Board for the Community Redevelopment Successor Agency/Los Angeles (appointed by the Mayor of Los Angeles). In addition, he has served as a Trustee of Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA and Loyola Marymount University of Los Angeles. He was also a board director and former chairman of the Constitutional Rights Foundation, and a board director for the Advancement Project, the Music Center / Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County, and the Music Center Foundation.
Mr. Lawson holds a BA in Political Science and Economics from LMU, Class of 1975 and a JD from Harvard Law School, Class of 1978. In 2010, he was the recipient of the Strickland Excellence Award from the African American Alumni Association (AAAA). Mr. Lawson and his spouse, Mattie McFadden-Lawson, reside in Los Angeles and have two adult sons: Jonathan and Michael, Jr.