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Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (left) is met by U.S. Ambassador William S. Farish on arrival June 5, 2002, at RAF Northholt, outside London

William Stamps Farish III (born March 17, 1939 in Houston, Texas) is an American businessman and a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom (2001-2004).


Family and Early Life

His father, William Stamps Farish, Jr., was killed in an airplane accident during World War II. He is the grandson of William Stamps Farish II, who was President of Standard Oil from 1937 to 1942.

  • Wife: Sarah Sharp, a stepdaughter of Bayard Sharp
  • Son: William Stamps Farish IV
  • Daughters: Mary Farish Johnston, Laura Farish Chadwick, Hillary Farish Stratton

Farish grew up in Houston, Texas, where he attended St. John's School.


Farish owns W.S. Farish & Co., a trust company based in Houston, Texas. In 2003, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Kentucky.

He has served on the Board of Directors of Vaalco Energy Inc..

Lane's End Farm

A breeder of thoroughbred racehorses, William Farish owns the 1,800-acre (7.3 km2) Lane's End Farm near Lexington, Kentucky. A leading breeder of horses that compete around the world, Lane's End Farm hosted Queen Elizabeth during her visit to Lexington.

Lane's End has a secondary 400-acre (1.6 km2) operation near Hempstead, Texas. Farish's operations have bred and/or raced over 225 horses that became stakes winners, both individually and with partners. In 1972, his horse Bee Bee Bee won the Preakness Stakes and his filly Casual Look won a British Classic, the 2003 Epsom Oaks. In 1992 and again in 1999, he received the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Breeder.

William Farish has served as chairman of Churchill Downs, home to the Kentucky Derby.


Farish was nominated by President George W. Bush as U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom on March 5, 2001, appointed on July 11, 2001 and served until he resigned in early summer, 2004.

The United Kingdom newspaper The Guardian commented on his low profile during the period leading up to the Iraq War[1]. The former UK ambassador to Washington, Christopher Meyer, said that "as ambassador [Farish] proved as agreeable as he was invisible." (D.C. Confidential, Christopher Meyer, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2005)

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Philip Lader
U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
Robert H. Tuttle




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