Ambassador Cretz hails from Albany, New York. He attended the University of Rochester graduating in 1972 with a B.A. in English literature. He later received an M.S. degree in linguistics from the State University of New York at Buffalo (1975).
Ambassador Cretz served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kabul, Afghanistan from 1975-1977, and joined the Department of State in March 1981. His first Foreign Service tour was as general services officer and consular officer in Islamabad, Pakistan (1982-84). He then returned to Washington and served one year in the Operations Center and one year as staff assistant in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA).
From 1986-88, Ambassador Cretz was a political officer in Damascus, Syria, followed by a tour as a political officer in New Delhi, India (1988-91). After leaving India, Ambassador Cretz served in Tel Aviv (1991-94) where he was responsible for Arab affairs, including the Gaza Strip.
His second Washington assignment was in the Bureau of International Organizations, as the officer responsible for Middle East Affairs at the United Nations. From 1998-2001, he served in Beijing, China, where he was in charge of China's External Affairs portfolio. In 2001 he transferred to Cairo, Egypt where he served as Minister-Counselor for Economic and Political Affairs.
In August 2003, he returned to Damascus, Syria as Deputy Chief of Mission and subsequently served as Chargé d'Affaires of the Embassy until January 2004. He was the Deputy Chief of Mission in Tel Aviv from August 2004 until August 2007.
On July 11, 2007, Ambassador Cretz was nominated by the President to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Libya and the appointment was confirmed by the Senate on November 20, 2008. While awaiting Senate confirmation, Ambassador Cretz served as the NEA Bureau’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Egyptian, Israeli-Palestinian, Jordanian, Lebanese, and Syrian Affairs and assumed responsibility for Maghreb and Arabian Peninsula Affairs in August 2008. Ambassador Cretz served in Libya from December 2008 until May 2012.
President Barack Obama on April 11, 2012 nominated career Senior Foreign Service Officer Gene A. Cretz to be the next Ambassador of the United States to Ghana. The appointment was confirmed by the Senate on August 2, 2012. Ambassador Cretz was sworn in by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on September 11, 2012.
Ambassador Cretz completed his tour as Ambassador to Ghana in late June 2015 and retired from the Foreign Service on July 1, 2015.
Ambassador Cretz is currently the Director General Representative of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) in Israel.
Ambassador Cretz speaks Dari, Urdu, Arabic and Chinese.