Robert Rubin

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Robert R. Rubin

Robert Edward Rubin (born August 29, 1938) is an American financier, businessman, and politican who served as the 70th United States Secretary of the Treasury during President Clinton's administration.


Education and background

Born in New York City, Rubin graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College in 1960 with an A.B. in economics. He attended the London School of Economics after graduation, and subsequently received a L.L.B. from Yale Law School in 1964. Rubin was originally an attorney at the firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton in New York City from 1964 to 1966.

He joined Goldman Sachs in 1966 as an associate in the risk arbitrage department, and became a general partner in 1971. He later joined the elite management committee in 1980, along with fellow Democratic politican Jon Corzine, later a senator from New Jersey. Rubin was Vice Chairman and Co-Chief Operating Officer from 1987 to 1990 and served as Co-Senior Partner and Co-Chairman from 1990 to 1992.


During his time in the private sector, Rubin has served on the board of directors of the New York Stock Exchange, the Harvard Management Company, the New York Futures Exchange, the New York City Partnership and the Center for National Policy. He has also served on the board of trustees of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Mt. Sinai Hospital and Medical School, the President's Advisory Committee for Trade Negotiations, the Securities and Exchange Commission Market Oversight and Financial Services Advisory Committee, the Mayor of New York's Council of Economic Advisors and the Governor's Council on Fiscal and Economic Priorities for the State of New York.

Clinton Administration

From January 20, 1993, to January 10, 1995, Rubin served in the White House as Assistant to the President for Economic Policy. In that capacity, he directed the activities of the National Economic Council, which was created by President Bill Clinton after his election in 1992.

Rubin's term of service as Treasury Secretary was from January 10, 1995 to July 2, 1999, during which time his economic team developed an economic policy later coined as Rubinomics which was based on vigorous deficit reduction, free global markets, and investments in education, training and the environment. This program is credited with helping to spark and sustain the longest economic expansion in the nation's history to date, transforming the federal government's budgetary position from deficit to surplus, and producing one of the lowest national unemployment rates in decades. Much of Rubin's work during his tenure at Treasury was centered around preventing the collapse of the economies of developing nations, including Mexico and Argentina. He presided over the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, and worked with Larry Summers and Alan Greenspan to stabilize the finances of nations that were teetering on the brink of collapse. The three appeared on the cover of Time Magazine in the late 1990s under the title "The Committee to Save the World."

Citigroup and post-political career

Rubin left the Clinton Administration and joined Citigroup as an executive in October, 1999; he remains there to this day. He sparked controversy in 2001 when he contacted an acquaintance at the Treasury Department and asked if the department could convince bond-rating agencies to not downgrade the corporate debt of Enron. Enron was a debtor of Citigroup, and Rubin's intention was for Enron creditors to loan the troubled company money to restructure its debt and prevent the energy giant's collapse; a collapse would have serious consequences for financial markets and energy distribution. However, the Treasury official refused, and a subsequent congressional staff investigation cleared Rubin of any wrongdoing. Nonetheless, he was harshly criticized by political opponents.

Rubin has written a memoir, titled In an Uncertain World: Tough Choices from Wall Street to Washington (ISBN 0375505857), with writer Jacob Weisberg. He is married to Judith Oxenberg Rubin, who served as the New York City Commissioner of Protocol for four years under Mayor David Dinkins. The Rubins have two grown sons, James and Philip.

Rubin was briefly mentioned as a potential vice-presidential candidate on the ticket of 2004 Democratic Party presidential nominee John Kerry.

Preceded by:
Lloyd Bentsen
United States Secretary of the Treasury
Succeeded by:
Lawrence Summers

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