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Timothy Geithner, U.S. Treasury Secretary

Author: Joanna Klonsky, Associate Editor
Updated: January 28, 2009
This publication is now archived.

geithnerTimothy F. Geithner, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, is President Barack Obama's U.S. treasury secretary. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on January 26, 2009. Geithner was closely involved in recent talks surrounding the failure of investment bank Lehman Brothers and the bailout of the insurance giant AIG. Geithner has called for streamlined federal supervision of financial markets, saying that the current system of oversight has created "perverse incentives" for financial actors. We need to "move to a simpler framework--with a more uniform set of rules applied evenly across entities involved in similar functions, and a more effective balance of regulation and market discipline," he said in a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in March 2008. He also said banks must be "subjected to a stronger form of consolidated supervision than our current framework provides."

Geithner had a previous thirteen-year stint at the Treasury Department, starting in 1988 when he joined the international affairs division. He became undersecretary for international affairs at Treasury during the later years of the Clinton administration.

In 2001, Geithner left Treasury to become a senior fellow in international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations. He served as director of a CFR Task Force on trade policy that recommended the United States expand free trade. A report published by that task force called on Congress to grant Trade Promotion Authority to President George W. Bush, which he was given by a narrow vote margin.

From 2001 to 2003, Geithner was director of the Policy Development and Review Department at the International Monetary Fund (IMF). There, he helped craft the IMF's $30.4 billion bailout of the Brazilian economy in September 2002. He also worked on bailouts of the Indonesian, Mexican, and South Korean economies.

Geithner has a bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College and a master's degree from Johns Hopkins University in international economics and East Asian studies. He has studied Japanese and Chinese and has also lived in East Africa, India, and China.

Selected Readings

Developments in the Global Economy and Implications for the United States, January 11, 2007.

Hedge Funds and Derivatives and Their Implications for the Financial System, September 15, 2006.

Risk Management Challenges in the U.S. Financial System, February 28, 2006.

CFR Task Force Report: Building Support for More Open Trade, October 2001.

Statement before the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, February 24, 1998.

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