The Hon. Peter G. Peterson

Chairman, Peter G. Peterson Foundation

June 16, 2011
The establishment of his Foundation marries two storylines of Pete's life: his work in philanthropy and his advocacy for securing America's future. Devoting $1 billion of his wealth to tackle some of the critical challenges threatening the nation's well-being might be his single biggest foray into giving, but it is hardly his first. Nearly 30 years ago, he chaired the commission that recommended that foundations be required to give away at least 5% of their assets annually, a rule the government adopted and which still holds today.

As co-founder and chairman emeritus of The Blackstone Group, Pete now dedicates his time to the Foundation and other charitable activities. Prior to starting Blackstone, he was chairman and CEO of Lehman Brothers and later held the same posts at Lehman Brothers, Kuhn, Loeb Inc. From 2000 to 2004, he chaired the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Earlier in Pete's career was a period of government service. In 1971, President Richard Nixon named him Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs. One year later, he was named US Secretary of Commerce. At that time, he also assumed the chairmanship of Nixon's National Commission on Productivity and was appointed U.S. Chairman of the U.S.-Soviet Commercial Commission, which negotiated comprehensive trade, Export-Import credit, arbitration, copyright and lend-lease agreements.

In addition to his role as the Foundation's chairman, Pete is Chairman Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, founding Chairman of the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, DC, and founding President of The Concord Coalition. Along with former US Treasury Secretary John Snow, he co-chaired the Conference Board Commission on Public Trust and Private Enterprise. He has served as a director of numerous corporations and is the author of five books, including the best-selling Running on Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It (2004) and his recently published memoir, The Education of an American Dreamer: How a Son of Greek Immigrants Learned His Way from a Nebraska Diner to Washington, Wall Street and Beyond.

Pete has five children and nine grandchildren. He lives in New York with his wife Joan Ganz Cooney, a director of the Foundation and co-founder of the Children's Television Workshop.
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