Pete Peterson is founder and chairman of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, a non-partisan organization dedicated to raising awareness of America’s long-term fiscal challenges and promoting solutions to ensure a better economic future. Pete established the Foundation in 2008 and he continues to lead its work to put America on a fiscally sustainable path.
Pete’s distinguished and far-reaching career spans more than five decades, including contributions and accomplishments in public service, business and philanthropy.
Pete’s public service began in 1971, when President Richard Nixon named him Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs. One year later, he was named U.S. Secretary of Commerce. At that time, he also assumed the chairmanship of President Nixon’s National Commission on Productivity and was appointed U.S. Chairman of the U.S.-Soviet Commercial Commission. He again took on a public service role from 2000 to 2004, when he chaired the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
In 1985, he co-founded The Blackstone Group, and over the next two decades he helped to grow the firm into a global leader in alternative investments. In the 1970s and ‘80s, Pete served as chairman and CEO of Lehman Brothers and Lehman Brothers, Kuhn, Loeb Inc. Before working in Washington, Pete was Chairman and CEO of audio-visual equipment manufacturer Bell & Howell, and an executive at advertising firm McCann Erickson.
In addition to his current work with the Foundation, Pete is chairman emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, founding chairman of the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, DC, and founding president of The Concord Coalition. Along with former U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow, he co-chaired the Conference Board Commission on Public Trust and Private Enterprise.
He has served as a director of numerous corporations and is the author of seven books. His most recent book, Steering Clear: How to Avoid a Debt Crisis and Secure Our Economic Future, was released in February 2015 by Portfolio, a division of Penguin Random House. His other books include the best-selling Running on Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It (2004) and his memoir, The Education of an American Dreamer: How a Son of Greek Immigrants Learned His Way from a Nebraska Diner to Washington, Wall Street, and Beyond.
Pete has five children and nine grandchildren. He lives in New York with his wife, Joan Ganz Cooney, a director and co-founder of the Children’s Television Workshop.