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Barbara Hackman Franklin

In office
February 27, 1992 – January 20, 1993
Preceded by Robert Mosbacher
Succeeded by Ronald Harmon Brown

Born March 19, 1940 (1940-03-19) (age 69)
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political party Republican
Alma mater Hempfield High School Pennsylvania State University Harvard School of Business

Barbara Hackman Franklin is President and Chief Executive Officer of Barbara Franklin Enterprises, a private consulting firm headquartered in Washington, D.C. She is an advocate for and adviser to American companies doing business in international markets, notably China, and is an expert on corporate governance, auditing, and financial reporting practices.

As the 29th U.S. Secretary of Commerce in the administration of President George H.W. Bush, she achieved a major goal – increasing American exports – with emphasis on market-opening initiatives in China, Russia, Japan and Mexico. Her mission to China in 1992 normalized commercial relations with that country and removed one of the sanctions – the ban on ministerial contact – that the U.S. had imposed following the events at Tiananmen Square in 1989.[citation needed]

Franklin has been a director of fourteen public companies and is currently a director of two – Aetna Inc. and The Dow Chemical Company. She is also a director or trustee of three funds in the American Funds family of mutual funds, and a member of the International Advisory Board of LaFarge, Paris, France. She has chaired a variety of board committees and currently chairs the Audit Committee at Dow and the Nominating & Governance Committee at Aetna. She received the John J. McCloy Award for her outstanding contributions to audit excellence and has been recognized as a Director of the Year by the National Association of Corporate Directors, the Outstanding Director Exchange (ODX), and by Directorship as one of the 100 most influential people in corporate governance.[citation needed]

She is a regular commentator on international economic matters and corporate governance on the PBS's Nightly Business Report.


She is chairman of the National Association of Corporate Directors, and chairman emerita of the Economic Club of New York. She is a director of the US-China Business Council, the National Committee on US-China Relations, the Atlantic Council, the Committee for Economic Development and the National Symphony Orchestra.

She is also a member of the Advisory Council of the Kissinger Institute on China and the U.S., the Council on Foreign Relations, the Foreign Policy Association, the Japan Society, the International Women's Forum and member emerita of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB).

In 1984, she founded Franklin Associates, a management consulting firm, and served as its president until 1992. She was also a Senior Fellow at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania through the 1980s. Franklin served as one of the original Commissioners and first Vice Chair of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (1973-79). She led the first White House effort to recruit women for high-level government jobs as a staff assistant to President Nixon, an effort which resulted in tripling the number of women in those positions (1971-73).[citation needed]

Earlier, Franklin was assistant vice president at Citibank and manager of environmental analysis at the Singer Company. She served four terms on the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations, by appointments of Presidents Reagan and Bush and as Alternate Representative to the 44th United Nations General Assembly. Franklin has served five U.S. Presidents. In 2006, she was awarded the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service.

Born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Franklin attended Hempfield High School in Landisville, Pennsylvania. She graduated with distinction from the Pennsylvania State University where she was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta. She was one of the first women graduates of the Harvard Business School from which she has received an Alumni Achievement Award. She has received numerous honorary degrees, honors, and awards and is a frequent speaker, author, and commentator. She is married to Wallace Barnes, retired chairman and CEO of Barnes Group, Inc. They reside in Washington, D.C. and Bristol, Connecticut.

Political offices
Preceded by
Robert Mosbacher
United States Secretary of Commerce
Served under: George H.W. Bush

February 27, 1992 - January 20, 1993
Succeeded by
Ronald Harmon Brown


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