Two new United States ambassadors arrived to take up their posts in Rome at the end of August, David H Thorne as ambassador to the Italian state and Miguel Humberto Diaz as ambassador to the Holy See.

Thorne is no stranger to Italy having grown up in the country when his father Landon was appointed by President Dwight Eisenhower to administer the post-war reconstruction programme known as the Marshall Plan in 1953. The family then stayed on in Rome for 20 years and Landon became well known as the owner and publisher of the Rome Daily American, the only English-language daily newspaper at the time. He also became a trustee of the American Academy.

David Thorne is an investment manager and was a fundraiser for the Obama presidential campaign. He said in a speech as ambassador designate that he will use his experience as a businessman to strengthen commercial ties between Italy and the United States and to foster high economic growth areas in Italy, particularly in the south of the country.

Thorne is a co-founder of Adviser Investments, a firm set up in 1994 to specialise in money management for individuals, trusts and institutions. He also has experience in many other fields including marketing, real estate development and publishing and is a board member of the institute of contemporary art in Boston.

He graduated from Yale University with a BA in American History and received an MA in journalism from Columbia University. He is a keen football fan and great friend of John Kerry, the defeated 2004 Democratic Party presidential candidate and chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee.

Diaz, a professor of theology at the college of St Benedict and St John