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John C. Whitehead

In office
1985 – 1989
President Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Kenneth W. Dam
Succeeded by Lawrence S. Eagleburger

Born April 2, 1922 (1922-04-02) (age 87)
Evanston, Illinois
Nationality United States
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Nancy Dickerson
Alma mater Haverford College
Occupation Investment banker

John Cunningham Whitehead (born April 2, 1922), is an American banker and civil servant, currently the chairman of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation (WTC Memorial Foundation), and former chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation until he resigned in May 2006.[1]



Born in Evanston, Illinois his family moved to Montclair, New Jersey when he was two years old.[2]

Whitehead graduated from Haverford College in 1943 and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, where he commanded one of the LCVP landing crafts at Omaha Beach, in the D-Day landing invasion of Normandy.[3][4]

In 1947 he received an MBA degree from Harvard Business School[2] and subsequently joined the prestigious New York investment bank of Goldman Sachs. He rose to become chairman over a total period at the firm of 38 years, and he retired in 1984 as Co-Chairman and Co-Senior Partner.

He served as United States Deputy Secretary of State in Ronald Reagan's administration from 1985 to 1989 under George Shultz, and was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Reagan. In 1996, he was the campaign chairman for Michael Benjamin who ran for a seat in New York's 8th congressional district.

He is former Chairman of the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the United Nations Association, and a former Chairman of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Harvard Board of Overseers. He is a former director of the New York Stock Exchange and Chairman Emeritus of The Brookings Institution.

He has a long association with the Rockefeller family, having held positions at various times with family-created institutions such as Rockefeller University, the Asia Society (where he is Chairman Emeritus and Honorary Life Trustee), the Lincoln Center Theater and the WTC Memorial Foundation. In these organisations, and previously when he was for a time on the family's powerful Trust Committee, overseeing the family fortune and investments of the Rockefeller Group, the real estate firm that previously owned and managed Rockefeller Center, he became closely associated with David Rockefeller.

As an alumnus of Haverford College in Pennsylvania, he has had the campus center and the chair of the philosophy department named after him. The John C. Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University is also named after him. He received an honorary LL.D. from Bates College in 2004, and an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from The City University of New York upon the recommendation of Macaulay Honors College in 2009.

He also serves on the board of the International Rescue Committee, an international human rights organization. In 1987, he was awarded the IRC's Freedom Award, along with Elie Wiesel.[5] Other recipients of the award have included Winston Churchill, Hubert Humphrey, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, John McCain, Lech Wałęsa, Hamid Karzai, Madeleine Albright, and Václav Havel. Whitehead is an Eagle Scout and recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award. He has been Chairman of the Financial Services Volunteer Corps (FSVC) since July, 2005. He is also an Advisory Board member for the Partnership for a Secure America, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to recreating the bipartisan center in American national security and foreign policy. Moreover, Whitehead sits on the Advisory Board of the Washington-based think-tank Global Financial Integrity, which conducts research on illicit financial flows and the damaging effects they have on developing countries.

John Whitehead is Co-Chairman of AMDeC Foundation , a 28-member organization of leaders in biomedical research and technology in New York State. Mr. Whitehead, along with AMDeC President, Dr. Maria K. Mitchell, secures funding and infrastructure support for next-generation research for New York's renown academic medical centers.

Whitehead was married to the late pioneering television newswoman, Nancy Dickerson until her death; her son, John Dickerson, the writer, is one of his stepchildren. In 2003, Mr. Whitehead dedicated the Nancy Dickerson Whitehead Community Service Center for Homeless Youth in Southeast Washington, D.C. with a generous gift to Covenant House.

In 2005, Whitehead published a memoir A Life In Leadership: From D-Day to Ground Zero.[3]

In 2006, Whitehead was one of the most notable Republican donors to the campaign of Joseph Lieberman in his independent re-election campaign for the U.S. Senate.[6]

On November 12, 2008, Whitehead, said at the Reuters Global Finance Summit the United States economy faces an economic slump deeper than the Great Depression and that a growing deficit threatens the credit of the country itself.[7]

Select publications


  1. ^ "Whitehead Resigns as LMDC Chairman" @ LMDC - Lower - May 11, 2006
  2. ^ a b "John Whitehead" interview @ Harvard Business School (Adobe Acrobat *.PDF document)
  3. ^ a b A Life In Leadership @ Basic Books
  4. ^ "A Day at the Beach" @ OpinionJournal - July 4, 2008
  5. ^ The IRC Freedom Award
  6. ^ Lightman, David (March 19, 2007). "GOP Gave Joe A Boost". Hartford Courant.,0,1424810.story?coll=hc-headlines-home. Retrieved 2007-03-19.  
  7. ^ Whitehead Sees Slump Worse Than Depression @ Reuters

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Kenneth W. Dam
United States Deputy Secretary of State
Succeeded by
Lawrence Eagleburger
Business positions
Preceded by
Gus Levy
Chairman and CEO, Goldman Sachs
Succeeded by
John Weinberg


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