At a Glance
- Career History: President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of New York; Vice Chairman, Federal Open Market Committee (Nov. 2003 to Jan. 2009); Director, Policy Development and Review, International Monetary Fund (Sept. 2001 to Nov. 2003)
- Birthday: Aug. 18, 1961
- Hometown: New York, NY
- Alma Mater: Dartmouth College, Bachelor's Degree, 1983; Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies, Master's, 1985
- Spouse: Carole
- Web site
Path to Power
Geithner was born in New York City in 1961, but he spent most of his youth abroad, living with his family in a variety of countries including India, Thailand, and what is now Zimbabwe.
His nomadic childhood inspired an interest in language and culture. An amateur photographer, his travels allowed him to capture unique subjects. While living in Thailand, he took photographs of refugees and "turned our bathroom in Bangkok into a darkroom," his mother has said.
In August 2008, financial markets began a wrenching crisis as losses mounted on securities tied to subprime mortgage loans. The crisis had spread to all types of credit products, with transactions freezing up, financial instiutions incurring huge losses and lending drying up throughout the economy.
As chairman of the New York Fed, Geithner was a lead architect of the government's response, including a campaign of interest rate cuts starting in September 2007 that pushed the federal funds rate to near zero by December 2008. In internal Fed debates, Geithner reliably pushed for more active intervention to guard the economy than did some of his colleagues further from Wall Street. He negotiated the deal to sell failed investment bank Bear Stearns to J.P. Morgan Chase in March 2008, ultimately putting $29 billion of Fed assets at risk to get the deal done. Six months later, when Lehman Brothers was on the verge of failure, Geithner was more open to saving it than Bush Treasury Secretary Paulson, but Paulson's hardline position prevailed and it went under. Just days later, Geithner engineered the takeover of AIG, the single largest of the government bailouts so far.
Geithner has spent more years in public service than many of the former Street veterans he works with, but his connections tie him to the slew of Goldman Sachs alumni that have recently populated the Treasury Department , including Rubin and former Bush Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson , both former Goldman chairmen. It was Rubin who gave a young Geithner his shot at bigger things at the Treasury, and the New York Times says Geithner'slack of work experience in the financial sector, "has left him reliant on Wall Street chiefs to guide his thinking and that Goldman alumni have figured prominently in his ascent."
Geithner is also a member of the Group of 30, a nonprofit that brings together thirty of the most influential people from the public and private sectors. Members include Nobel-prize winning economist Paul Krugman, and Larry Summers , a former high-profile Obama economic adviser. Geithner spent six months of 2001 as a senior fellow on the Council on Foreign Relations and is still a member of its advisory board, along with Stephen Friedman and former secretary of state Madeleine Albright.