Robert Rubin

Robert Rubin

Infobox US Cabinet official
name=Robert Rubin

order1 =5th Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations
Serving alongside: Carla Anderson Hills

term_start1 =2007
term_end1 =
deputy1 =
president1 =Richard N. Haass
predecessor1 =Peter George Peterson
successor1 =
title2=United States Secretary of the Treasury
term_start2=January 11, 1995
term_end2=July 2, 1999
predecessor2=Lloyd Bentsen
successor2=Lawrence H. Summers
birth_date=birth date and age|1938|08|29
birth_place=New York City, New York

Robert Edward Rubin (born August 29, 1938) is Director and Senior Counselor of Citigroup. From November to December 2007, he served temporarily as Chairman of Citigroup. [cite news|url=|publisher=BBC|title=Citigroup chief executive resigns|date=2007-11-05|accessdate=2008-02-20] He served as the 70th United States Secretary of the Treasury during both the first and second Clinton Administrations.

Education and background

Born in New York City, Rubin moved to Miami Beach, Florida at an early age and graduated from Miami Beach High School. In 1960, Rubin graduated "summa cum laude" with a B.A. in economics from Harvard Collegecite web|url=|publisher=Citigroup|title=Citigroup Corporate Governance - Robert E. Rubin |accessdate=2008-02-20] . He then attended Harvard Law School for three days before leaving to see the world. [ BBC News | The Economy | Robert Rubin, the man Wall Street trusts ] ] He later attended the London School of Economics after graduation and received an LL.B. from Yale Law School in 1964.

Rubin began his career as an attorney at the firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton in New York City. He joined Goldman Sachs in 1966 as an associate in the risk arbitrage department . Rubin proved his skills at the intricate art of investing his firm's capital in high-reward arbitrage opportunities and became a general partner in 1971. He joined the management committee in 1980 along with fellow Democrat Jon Corzine, later a U.S. senator and governor of New Jersey. Rubin was Vice Chairman and Co-Chief Operating Officer from 1987 to 1990. From the end of 1990 to 1992, Rubin served as Co-Chairman and Co-Senior Partner along with Stephen Friedman (PFIAB).

Clinton Administration

From January 20, 1993, to January 10, 1995, Robert Rubin served in the White House as Assistant to the President for Economic Policy. In that capacity, he directed the National Economic Council, which Bill Clinton created after winning the presidency.

The National Economic Council, or NEC, enabled the White House to coordinate closely the workings of the Cabinet departments and agencies on policies ranging from budget and tax to international trade and alleviating poverty. The NEC coordinated policy recommendations going into the President’s office, and monitored implementation of the decisions that came out.

Rubin, as the NEC’s first director, was credited with making the system work. As Robert Strauss, former U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union, said at the time, “He's surely the only man or woman in America that I know who could make the NEC succeed. Anyone else would have been a disruptive force, and the council wouldn't have worked.” [“Rubin’s Rules,” Owen Ullmann, The Washingtonian, June 1994.]

1990s Global financial crisis

In January 1995, one year after the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and immediately after his swearing in as Secretary of Treasury, Mexico was suffering through a financial crisis possibly resulting in default on foreign obligations. President Bill Clinton with the advice of Secretary Rubin and Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan provided $20 Billion in US loan guarantees to the Mexican government through the Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF).

In 1997-1998, Treasury Secretary Rubin, Deputy Secretary Lawrence H. Summers, and Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan worked with the International Monetary Fund and others to effectively combat and contain financial crises in Russian, Asian, and Latin American financial markets. In its February 15, 1999 edition, Time Magazine dubbed the three policymakers “The Committee to Save the World.” [cite news|url=|title=The Three Marketeers |author=Joshua Cooper Ramo|date=1999-02-15|accessdate=2008-02-20|publisher=Time Magazine]

Mr. Rubin was succeeded on July 1, 1999 as Treasury Secretary by his deputy, Lawrence H. Summers.

Economic Record & The 2008 Global Financial Crisis

Upon Rubin’s retirement, President Clinton called him the “greatest secretary of the Treasury since Alexander Hamilton.” “During his tenure as Treasury Secretary,” Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) said, “Bob was an ideal public servant who put policy before politics.” [ [ Eisenhower Institute] ] Dead link|date=February 2008

Yet critics credit Rubin with helping create the conditions for the Financial crisis of 2007–2008, as a result of the policies he pursued as Treasury Secretary. Together with then-Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, Rubin strongly opposed the regulation of derivatives, when such regulation was proposed by then-head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Brooksley Born. Over-exposure to credit derivatives of mortgage-backed securities - or credit default swaps (CDS) was a key reason for the failure of US financial insitutions Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, American International Group, and Washington Mutual in 2008.

Arthur Levitt Jr., a former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, has said in explaining Mr Rubin's strong opposition to the regulations proposed by Ms Born that Mr. Greenspan and Rubin were "joined at the hip on this." "They were certainly very fiercely opposed to this and persuaded me that this would cause chaos." [ [ The Reckoning - Taking Hard New Look at a Greenspan Legacy] , "New York Times", October 8, 2008, By Peter S. Goodman. ]

According to the New York Times, "In November 1999, senior regulators — including Mr. Greenspan and Mr. Rubin — recommended that Congress permanently strip the CFTC of regulatory authority over derivatives." [ [ The Reckoning - Taking Hard New Look at a Greenspan Legacy] , "New York Times", October 8, 2008, By Peter S. Goodman. ] This advice was accepted and derivatives were keep clear of regulation by the CFTC.

Warren Buffett later called derivatives "financial weapons of mass destruction", and the lack of regulation of derivatives played a key role in the 2008 financial crisis.

Other competent critics of Rubin's philosophy and policies include Kevin Phillips. [ [ Jefferson, Jackson and Robert Rubin’s Hamilton Project] ] [ [ Bubble and Bail] , "The American Prospect" magazine, May 5, 2008]

Post-political career

Upon leaving the Clinton Administration, Mr. Rubin joined the Board of The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), the nation’s leading community development support organization as Chairman.

Reflecting on his decision to join an institution devoted to bringing economic activity to neglected areas of the country, the Chicago Tribune said the following in an editorial: “Even before he became Bill Clinton's treasury secretary, during his days as a high-powered Wall Street executive, Rubin was passionate about fostering business investment as the way to fight poverty in depressed city and rural areas. That made him somewhat unusual among Democrats, who generally emphasized government anti-poverty programs.” [“Rubin’s Next Big Challenge,” Chicago Tribune, editorial, September 20, 1999.]

In 1999, affirming his career-long interest in markets, Mr. Rubin joined Citigroup. Of note, the supermerger between Travelers Group and Citicorp was facilitated by the repeal of the Glass Steagall Act (Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act). This legislation was passed under the Clinton administration, days before Rubin's resignation. Consolidation of investment, commercial banking, and insurance services as practiced by Citigroup under the direction of Rubin, has been implicated in the subprime mortage crisis. He sparked controversy in 2001 when he contacted an acquaintance at the Treasury Department and asked if the department could convince bond-rating agencies not to downgrade the corporate debt of Enron, a debtor of Citigroup. Rubin wanted Enron creditors to lend money to the troubled company for a restructuring of its debt; a collapse of the energy giant might have serious consequences for financial markets and energy distribution. The Treasury official refused. A subsequent congressional staff investigation cleared Rubin of any wrongdoing, but he was still harshly criticized by political opponents.

Rubin was also briefly mentioned in an incident involving MA Governor Deval Patrick, who worked with him in the Clinton Administration. Patrick had served on the board of directors for Ameriquest Financial before his election to Governor, and the company has since run into financial problems regarding debt to Citigroup. Patrick placed a personal call on behalf of Ameriquest to Rubin, assuring him of the company's virtues. The call was widely denounced as Patrick abusing the power of his office to help out old friends, a theme against which he vigorously campaigned in 2006. There was no evidence or mention that Rubin did anything illegal or unethical.

On July 1, 2002, he became a member of Harvard Corporation, the executive governing board of Harvard University. This happened one year after he had received an honorary doctoral degree from the same university. [cite news|url=|publisher=Harvard Gazette|date=2002-04-11|accessdate=2008-02-02|title=Rubin '60 is newest Corporation member]

Rubin has written a memoir, "" (ISBN 0-375-50585-7), co-written by Jacob Weisberg. It was a New York Times bestseller as well as one of Business Week’s ten best business books of 2003 .

He is currently engaged actively as a founder of The Hamilton Project, an economic policy think tank which is intended to produce research and proposals on how to create a growing economy that benefits more Americans. In October 2003, he was named Vice Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations and in June 2007, he was named Co-Chairman. He serves on the Board of Trustees of Mount Sinai-NYU Health.

Rubin is a member of the Africa Progress Panel (APP), an independent authority on Africa launched in April 2007 to focus world leaders’ attention on delivering their commitments to the continent. The Panel launched a major report in London on Monday 16 June 2008 entitled "Africa's Development: Promises and Prospects" [APP, Press Release: Africa Progress Panel demands action on global food crisis “reversing decades of economic progress”, 16 June 2008,] .

Rubin, who has been touted as a possible appointee to a cabinet post for Senator Obama. Rubin, alongside Austan Goolsbee and Paul Volcker, is one of Obama's economic advisers.cite news |first=Catherine |last=Dodge |authorlink= |coauthors=Chen, Edwin |title=Obama Turns to Rubin, McCain Taps Feldstein for Crisis Response |url= |work=Bloomberg |publisher= |date=2008-09-16 |accessdate= ]


Rubin 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. [cite web|url=|title=Board of Directors - Mrs. Judith O. Rubin|accessdate=2008-02-20|publisher=Center for Arts and Culture]

Positions held

During his time in the private sector, Rubin has served on the board of directors of the New York Stock Exchange, the Ford Motor Company, Citigroup, the Harvard Corporation, 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 U.S. 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. On November 4, 2007, he became the Chairman of Citigroup and is currently co-chairman of the board of directors of the Council on Foreign Relations.


* Clinton, Bill (2005). "My Life". Vintage. ISBN 1-4000-3003-X.
* Rubin, Robert (2003). In An Uncertain World. Random House. ISBN 0-375-50585-7
* [ Crony-Capitalists Fiddle While Main Street Burns: Crashing Citigroup - accessed 12-03-07]

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