Paul A. Volcker
In the course of his career, Mr. Volcker worked in the United States federal government for almost thirty years, culminating in two terms as chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from 1979 to 1987, a critical period in bringing a high level of inflation to an end. In earlier stages of his career, Mr. Volcker served as undersecretary of the treasury for monetary affairs during the early 1970s, a period of historic change in international monetary arrangements. He was subsequently president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and in earlier years was an official of The Chase Manhattan Bank.
Mr. Volcker retired as chairman of Wolfensohn & Co. upon the merger of that firm with Bankers Trust. From 1996 until 1999, Mr. Volcker headed The Independent Committee of Eminent Persons, formed by Swiss and Jewish organizations to investigate deposit accounts and other assets in Swiss banks of victims of Nazi persecution and to arrange for their disposition. From 2000 to 2005, Mr. Volcker served as chairman of the Board of Trustees of the newly formed International Accounting Standards Committee overseeing a renewed effort to develop consistent, high-quality accounting standards acceptable in all countries. Upon leaving public service in 1987, and again in 2003, he headed private, nonpartisan Commissions on the Public Service, each recommending a sweeping overhaul of the organization and personnel practices of the United States federal government.
In 2004, Mr. Volcker was asked by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to chair the Independent Inquiry into the United Nations Oil-for-Food Programme, resulting in identification of substantial corruption and malfeasance. In 2007, Mr. Volcker was asked by the president of the World Bank to chair a panel of experts to review the operations of the Department of Institutional Integrity. That effort has culminated in broad reform of the Bank’s anti-corruption effort. In November 2008, President-Elect Obama chose Mr. Volcker to head the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board which ended in February 2011.
Pursuing his many continuing interests in public policy, Mr. Volcker served as chairman of the Trilateral Commission and chairman of the Trustees of the Group of Thirty. Educated at Princeton, Harvard, and the London School of Economics, Mr. Volcker was a recipient of honorary doctorates from each of his “alma maters,” as well as a number of other American and foreign universities.
In 2013, Mr. Volcker founded the Volcker Alliance, a nonprofit with a mission to empower the public sector workforce to solve the challenges facing our nation. The Volcker Alliance envisions a public sector workforce with the experience, preparation, and commitment to ensure government is accountable and delivers with excellence.
When Mr. Volcker passed away in December 2019, tributes from around the world poured in celebrating his life and legacy. Read some of the many tributes to Paul A. Volcker here.