Paul A. Volcker passed away on December 8, 2019, at the age of 92.

Paul A. Volcker was a member of the Belfer Center's International Council for a number of years until his death at 92 on December 8, 2019.  

Volcker became widely known for his leadership as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from 1979 to 1987, a period in which the accelerating inflation and the so-called “stagflation” of the 1970s gave way to greater price stability and strong economic growth.

In the years before his death, Volcker served as Chairman of the “Volcker Alliance”, a foundation he created in 2013 in response to the challenge of achieving more effective government at all levels – Federal, State and Local.  Reflecting his long-term interest in that respect, he headed a private, non-partisan Commission on the Public Service in 1987 recommending a sweeping overhaul of the organization and personnel practices of the United States Federal Government.

His appointment, first by President Jimmy Carter and reappointment by President Ronald Reagan, culminated almost 30 years of public service. From 1969 to 1974 as Undersecretary of the Treasury for Monetary Affairs in the Nixon administration, he carried the principal responsibility for international monetary negotiations during the breakdown of the Bretton Woods international monetary system.

Upon leaving Washington in 1987 after almost 30 years of public service, Mr. Volcker agreed to head a distinguished private, non-partisan Commission on Public Service, reporting to the President George H.W. Bush.  He also accepted a chair at Princeton University as the Frederick Schultz Professor of International Finance and simultaneously chairmanship of the small investment banking firm, James D. Wolfensohn, Inc.

In 1996 he was asked by representatives of the Swiss and Jewish communities to lead an effort to trace accounts of victims of Nazi persecution opened in Swiss banks before World War II, leading to substantial compensation for survivors and their progeny. In 2004 the Secretary General of the United Nation’s called upon Mr. Volcker to undertake an investigation of allegations of substantial corruption by participants in the U.N.’s Oil for Food program and within the U.N. itself. That successful investigation led to a further request by the President of the World Bank to lead a review of the Bank’s anti-corruption program, leading to substantial reforms in Bank procedures. He served as Chairman of the President’s Economic Recovery Board during Mr. Obama’s first term.

Among other commitments in the non-profit world, Mr. Volcker for a number of years served as Chairman of the Trilateral Commission and of the Group of 30.  At various times he served as director of several U.S., foreign, and international corporations.

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