Timothy Franz Geithner (pronounced /ˈɡaɪtnər/; born August 18, 1961), is the 75th and current United States Secretary of the Treasury, serving under President Barack Obama. He was previously the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Geithner's position includes a large role in directing the nation's economic response to the financial crisis which began after December 2007. Specific tasks include directing how $350 billion of Wall Street bailout money is allocated. He is currently dealing with multiple high visibility issues, including the survival of the automobile industry, the restructuring of banks, financial institutions and insurance companies, recovery of the mortgage market, demands for protectionism, Obama's new tax proposals, and relations with foreign governments that are dealing with similar crises.
Early life and education
Geithner was born in Brooklyn, New York. He spent most of his childhood living outside the United States, including present-day Zimbabwe, Zambia, India and Thailand where he completed high school at International School Bangkok. He attended Camp Becket-in-the-Berkshires-for-boys, a summer camp located in western Massachusetts. He then attended Dartmouth College, graduating with a B.A. in government and Asian studies in 1983. He earned an M.A. in international economics and East Asian studies from Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies in 1985. He has studied Chinese and Japanese.
Geithner's paternal grandfather, Paul Herman Geithner (1902–1972), emigrated with his parents from Zeulenroda, Germany to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1908. His father, Peter F. Geithner, is the director of the Asia program at the Ford Foundation in New York. During the early 1980s, Peter Geithner oversaw the Ford Foundation's microfinance programs in Indonesia being developed by S. Ann Dunham-Soetoro, President Barack Obama's mother, and they met in person at least once. Timothy Geithner's mother, Deborah Moore Geithner, is a pianist and piano teacher in Larchmont, New York where his parents currently reside. Geithner's maternal grandfather, Charles F. Moore, was an adviser to President Dwight D. Eisenhower and served as Vice President of Public Relations from 1952-1964 for Ford Motor Company.
After completing his studies, Geithner worked for Kissinger and Associates in Washington, D.C., for three years and then joined the International Affairs division of the U.S. Treasury Department in 1988. He went on to serve as an attaché at the US Embassy in Tokyo. He was deputy assistant secretary for international monetary and financial policy (1995–1996), senior deputy assistant secretary for international affairs (1996-1997), assistant secretary for international affairs (1997–1998).
He was Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs (1998–2001) under Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers. Summers was his mentor, but other sources call him a Rubin protégé.
Treasury Secretary designee Geithner meets Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus on November 25, 2008. In 2002 he left the Treasury to join the Council on Foreign Relations as a Senior Fellow in the International Economics department. He was director of the Policy Development and Review Department (2001-2003) at the International Monetary Fund.
In October 2003 at age 42, he was named president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. His salary in 2007 was $398,200. Once at the New York Fed, he became Vice Chairman of the Federal Open Market Committee component. In 2006, he also became a member of the Washington-based financial advisory body, the Group of Thirty. In May 2007 he worked to reduce the capital required to run a bank. In November he rejected Sanford Weill's offer to take over as Citigroup's chief executive.
In March 2008, he arranged the rescue and sale of Bear Stearns; in the same year, he played a pivotal role in both the decision to bail out AIG as well as the government decision not to save Lehman Brothers from bankruptcy, though claims were made after Geithner's nomination that distanced him from both AIG and Lehman Brothers. As a Treasury official, he helped manage multiple international crises of the 1990s in Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea and Thailand.
Geithner believes, along with Henry Paulson, that the United States Department of the Treasury needs new authority to experiment with responses to the financial crisis of 2008. Paulson has described Geithner as "[a] very unusually talented young man...[who] understands government and understands markets."
Geithner, in written comments to the Senate Finance Committee, states that the new administration believes Beijing is "manipulating" its currency and that the Obama administration will act "aggressively" using "all the diplomatic avenues" to change China's currency practices.
Geithner met with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi shortly after he assumed his role as Secretary of the Treasury. Geithner told Yang that the U.S. attaches great importance to its relations with China and that U.S.-China cooperation was essential in order for the world economy to fully recover.