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Volcker, Paul (Economic Czar)



Title: Chairman of the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board
Reports to: President Obama
Department that handles similar issues: Treasury Department
Duties: Provide information, analysis, and advice to the President as he formulates and implements his plans for economic recovery.

 

  • Born September 1927 in Cape May, New Jersey
  • Earned a BA from Princeton University in 1949
  • Earned MA in political economy from Harvard University in 1951
  • Attended the London School of Economics from 1951 to 1952
  • Joined the Federal Reserve Bank of New York as a full-time economist in 1952
  • Became a financial economist with the Chase Manhattan Bank in 1957
  • Joined the U.S. Treasury Department as director of financial analysis in 1962
  • Became Deputy Under-Secretary for Monetary Affairs in 1963
  • Returned to Chase Manhattan Bank as vice president and director of planning in 1965
  • Was Undersecretary for Monetary Affairs at the Treasury Department, 1969 to 1974
  • Served as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York from 1975 to 1979
  • Served as Federal Reserve chairman, 1979-1987
  • After leaving the Federal Reserve, he became chairman of the New York investment banking firm, J. Rothschild, Wolfensohn & Co.
  • In April 2004, he was assigned by the United Nations to research possible corruption in the Iraqi Oil for Food program. In his final report, he criticized Kojo Annan (son of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan) and the Swiss company Cotecna Inspection SA (Kojo's employer) for trying to conceal their relationship. He did not implicate Kofi Annan in any wrongdoing.
  • The Heritage Foundation charged that Volcker was not impartial in his research, and called for his resignation. Said the Foundation: “By all appearances, Mr. Annan seems to be using Paul Volcker as a shield to protect his own reputation. A more critical and neutral chairman would have drawn far harder-hitting conclusions from the mountain of damaging evidence that has emerged from the investigation. Despite his investigators pre senting an ugly tableau of incompetence, misman agement, corruption, and deception at the top of the United Nations, Mr. Volcker has shied away from direct criticism of the Secretary-General and the United Nations as an institution. Where the evidence has been harmful to Mr. Annan, Mr. Volcker has clearly played down his findings. There are major questions about the Chairman’s neutrality.”
  • Became Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Washington-based financial advisory body, the Group of Thirty
  • Currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the International House in Manhattan
  • Was a founding member of the Trilateral Commission
  • Endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008; gave the Obama campaign $2,300
  • In January 2008 Volcker said: “It is only Barack Obama, in his person, in his ideas, in his ability to understand and to articulate both our needs and our hopes that provide the potential for strong and fresh leadership. That leadership must begin here in America but it can also restore needed confidence in our vision, our strength, and our purposes right around the world.”
  • Stepped down in February 2011 and was succeeded by Jeffrey Immelt, who is the Chairman of the Board and CEO of General Electric.



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