Dr Alan Greenspan
Economist and chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. Possibly the second most powerful man in the United States, Greenspan has headed the seven-member board since 1987, striving to control inflation and increase consumer confidence in the economy.
Greenspan was born in New York City in 1926. He is said to have been a mathematical prodigy early in his life. After graduating from high school, he studied at the Juilliard School and earned a Master’s degree in Economics in 1950 from New York University, then went to Columbia University to pursue his Doctorate. Before finishing however, he left to go work for the National Industrial Conference Board (NICB) as a professional economist. He ended up receiving his doctorate from NYU in 1977.
After leaving the NICB, Greenspan and bond trader William Townsend opened an economic consulting company that provided economic forecasts to large corporations and financial institutions. At that time, few corporations had professional economists on their staff.
Greenspan worked as a Director of Policy Research for Richard Nixon in the 1960s, but did not come to Washington until the 1970s, when he served as Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) under Gerald Ford. The American economy of the time was influenced by the 1973 oil crisis, the imposition and subsequent repeal of wage and price controls, and the resignation of President Nixon.
After the election of Jimmy Carter, Greenspan returned to private life, although he did serve as Chairman of the nonpartisan Social Security Commission in the early 1980s. He stayed at Townsend-Greenspan until 1987. He was appointed Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board by Ronald Reagan. In the mid-1980s, Greenspan was on the board of directors of Alcoa. On May 18, 2004, he was nominated by President George W. Bush to serve for an unprecedented fifth term. His honorary titles include Knight Commander of the British Empire, bestowed in 2002 and Commander of the Légion d’honneur (Legion of Honour).