Austria has reopened an honorary consulate in Denver and appointed Western Union chief executive Hikmet Ersek and his wife, Nayantara Ghosh-Ersek, to oversee it.
“You get two for the price of one, which is incredible,” joked Gov. John Hickenlooper at a ceremony Thursday evening at the Brown Palace. “Who better to help build bridges.”
The couple, who moved to Colorado from Vienna five years ago, are tasked with assisting Austrian residents in the region and promoting closer cultural, tourism and trade ties.
Drawn by the region’s mountains and mines, Austrian immigrants played an important role in settling Colorado and Wyoming.
Several Colorado companies, including Level 3 Communications, Liberty Global, Arrow Electronics and Western Union, have operations in Austria, which is one of Europe’s wealthiest countries. Austria and Colorado also share a heavy concentration of renewable-energy firms and research facilities.
The Erseks will report to Ulrike Ritzinger, the Austrian Consul General based in Los Angeles.