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Peter Peterson was Chairman of Peterson, Jacobs & Company, Inc. and a member of the RCA Board of Directors during most of the years the CED system was on the market. He was rumored to be a replacement for Edgar Grittiths as RCA Chairman and CEO, a job that ultimately went to Thornton Bradshaw.
Peter G. Peterson, 74, is Chairman of The Blackstone Group, a private investment banking firm, he co-founded in 1985. He is currently a Director of Transtar, Inc. and Sony Corporation. He is Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He was formerly a Director of Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, Federated Department Stores, Black & Decker Manufacturing Company, General Foods Corporation, RCA, The Continental Group, Cities Service and UCAR International Inc.
Mr. Peterson was Chairman and CEO of Lehman Brothers (1973 - 1977) and after the merger with Kuhn, Loeb, became Chairman and CEO of Lehman Brothers, Kuhn, Loeb Inc. (1977 - 1984). During his tenure, Mr. Peterson led the firm from significant operating losses to five consecutive years of record profits with the return on equity among the highest in the investment banking industry.
He is Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations and founding Chairman of the Institute for International Economics (Washington, D.C.). He is a Trustee of the Committee for Economic Development, the Japan Society and the Museum of Modern Art, Director of the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Public Agenda Foundation and The Nixon Center.
He is founding President of The Concord Coalition, a bipartisan citizens group he organized in 1992, together with Senator Warren Rudman and the late Senator Paul Tsongas (who was recently succeeded by Senator Sam Nunn.) The Concord Coalition is dedicated to building a constituency for fiscal responsibility. In 1982, he was a founding member of the Bi-Partisan Budget Appeal, an organization of 500 heads of major corporations, accounting, law and banking firms, university and former public officials.
In February of 1994, President Clinton named Mr. Peterson as a member of the Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform co-chaired by Senators Kerrey and Danforth.
Just prior to joining Lehman Brothers, Mr. Peterson served as Ambassador and Personal Representative to President Richard Nixon. He was named Secretary of Commerce by President Nixon on January 27, 1972. At that time, the President also asked Mr. Peterson to assume the Chairmanship of his National Commission on Productivity. During 1972, Mr. Peterson was also the U.S. Chairman of the U.S.-Soviet Commercial Commission that negotiated the comprehensive trade, EX-IM credits, arbitration, copyright and lend-lease agreements that were signed in November of 1972. He joined the White House staff in February of 1971 as the Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs. In that role, he authored the reports, "The U.S. in a Changing World Economy" and "A Foreign Economic Perspective."
In 1958, Mr. Peterson joined Bell & Howell as Executive Vice President and Director. In 1961, at the age of 34, he was elected President. In 1963, he became Chief Executive Officer and held that position until February 1971. From 1962 to 1971, corporate sales more than doubled and operating earnings more than quadrupled.
Mr. Peterson's business career began in 1948 with Market Facts, where he became Executive Vice President of the firm in 1952. That same year, he joined the advertising agency of McCann-Erickson, as Director of Marketing Services. He became Vice President at the age of 27, then General Manager of the Chicago office, and a Director of the company, coordinating services to regional offices.
In the fall of 1976, President Ford appointed Mr. Peterson Chairman of the Quadrennial Commission on Executive Legislative and Judicial Salaries. For the years 1978 and 1979, Mr. Peterson was Chairman of the U.S. Council of the International Chamber of Commerce.
He has received a number of awards including a U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce award naming him one of the "Ten Outstanding Men" in the nation. In 1962, Life Magazine cited him as one of the 100 most important Americans under 40. In 1973, the Harvard Business School Club of Chicago named him "Business Statesman of the Year" and he received the Gotshal Award for "Exceptional Service in the Field of International Arbitration." In 1976, Mr. Peterson received the Phoenix House Outstanding Public Service Award and in 1980, the New York Board of Trade Award for business leadership and public service. In 1981, he was designated honoree of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine's "Spirit of the City" award and the American Jewish Congress' Stephen Wise Award. In June 1983, Mr. Peterson received the University of Chicago Alumni Medal (its highest honor) "...for extraordinary distinction in one's field of specialization and extraordinary service to society." His Atlantic Monthly cover article, "The Morning After" (October 1987) received the National Magazine Award for the Best Public Interest Article of the Year in 1987. In 1989, he was appointed as an American representative on the U.S.-Japan "Wise Men's" Group. He received the Man of Vision Award in January 1994, and the Nebraskalander Award in February 1994.
Born on June 5, 1926, Mr. Peterson graduated from Northwestern University with a B.S. (summa cum laude) in 1947. He received his Masters in Business Administration with honors in 1951 from the University of Chicago. For several years, he was a part-time member of the faculty of the Graduate School of Business of the University of Chicago and co-edited a book of readings entitled Readings in Market Organizations and Price Policies. He is the author of Gray Dawn: How The Coming Age Wave Will Transform America - And The World (Times Books, January 1999); Will America Grow Up Before It Grows Old? (Random House, September 1996); Facing Up: How to Rescue the Economy from Crushing Debt and Restore the American Dream (Simon and Schuster, November 1993) and co-author of On Borrowed Time: How The Growth In Entitlement Spending Threatens America's Future. In 1969, Mr. Peterson was asked by John D. Rockefeller III, John J. McCloy and Douglas Dillon to chair a Commission on Foundations and Private Philanthropy. This Commission issued a book entitled Foundations, Private Giving and Public Policy. Its recommendations were reviewed in a full day seminar with the Senate Finance Committee. A number of its recommendations were accepted, in particular the recommendation that all foundations be required to pay out a minimum, specified amount of their assets each year.
He has been awarded honorary Ph.D. degrees by Colgate University, Georgetown University, George Washington University, Northwestern University, the University of Rochester, and by Southampton College of Long Island University.
Mr. Peterson, who resides in New York City, is married to Joan Ganz Cooney, Founder and Chairman of the Executive Committee of Children's Television Workshop, ("Sesame Street," "Electric Company," and "3-2-1 Contact") and is the father of five children.
- 2000 Concord Coalition Biography
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