Corporation Member in the Hot Seat

In a two-hour interview, Rubin answers questions about his role in the housing and credit crisis. The losses, which have rippled throughout the economy...

Where Was the Wise Man?, from last Sunday's New York Times, examines the background and current status of Harvard Corporation member Robert E. Rubin ’60, LL.D. ’01, chairman of the executive committee of Citigroup.

In a two-hour interview, Rubin answers questions about his role in the housing and credit crisis. The losses, which have rippled throughout the economy, have so far totaled $40 billion for Citigroup alone. But, Rubin tells the Times, “I don’t know of anyone who foresaw a perfect storm, and that’s what we’ve had here....I don’t feel responsible, in light of the facts as I knew them in my role.”

Citigroup board member Richard Parsons, chairman of Time Warner, tells the Times that Rubin does not have operating responsibility: “You can’t say this happened on his watch, because this wasn’t his watch.”

Others disagree.

“He is like the Wizard of Oz behind Citigroup, he is the guy pulling on all the strings,” said one Citigroup banker who was not authorized to speak publicly about the situation. “He certainly was the guy deferred to on key strategic decisions and certain key business decisions vis-à-vis risk.”

A Corporation member since 2002, Rubin served, like former University president Lawrence H. Summers, as Secretary of the U.S. Treasury during the Clinton administration.

Read about his appointment to the Corporation here. Read an excerpt from his book In an Uncertain World: Tough Choices from Wall Street to Washington here.

You might also like

How Air Pollution Affects Our Brains

An expert Harvard panel discusses the links between air pollution and dementia, learning, mental health, and mood.

Steven Pinker on Apple’s Vision Pro

Professor of psychology on the science and history behind the Vision Pro.

The State of Black America

Harvard African American scholars take stock of a difficult moment. 

Most popular

Good Design

A public interest movement redefines architecture.

Open Book: The Photographer’s Art

Robin Kelsey probes the place of photography within art.

An Ipswich Idyll

Restorations revive the grand spirit of a North Shore estate.

More to explore

Photograph of Winthrop Bell 1910

Winthrop Bell

Brief life of a philosopher and spy: 1884-1965

Illustration of people talking to each other with colorful thought bubbles above their heads

Talking about Talking

Fostering healthy disagreement

Vacationing with a Purpose

New England “summer camps” for adults