Undersecretary for Economic Growth, Energy and Agricultural Affairs: Who is Robert Hormats?
Sunday, December 25, 2011
On December 12, the State Department announced that the Office of the Under Secretary for Economic, Energy, and Agricultural Affairs would be renamed the Office of Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and Agricultural Affairs. The new office will oversee the Bureau of Oceans and Environmental and Scientific Affairs, the reorganized Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, the Bureau of Energy Resources, the Office of the Science and Technology Advisor and the newly formed Office of the Chief Economist of the State Department.
Among the key duties that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wanted her undersecretary for economic growth, energy and agricultural affairs, Robert D. Hormats, to perform when she chose him was to help refine Washington’s relationships with China, India and Russia on economic, trade and environmental issues. As the former head of Goldman Sachs’ international operation, Hormats knows quite a lot about economic dealings with these three powerful states. In fact, his work with China upset some human rights activists once they heard of Hormats’ selection for the post in the Obama administration. Hormats was sworn in as undersecretary September 23, 2009.
Earlier this decade, Hormats played a leading role in defending PetroChina when Goldman took the Chinese oil company public. Because of PetroChina’s parent company’s dealings with the government of Sudan, some human rights activists expressed worry that the public offering might wind up funneling more money to Sudanese officials who have been accused of carrying out a campaign of genocide in Darfur. Hormats was in the thick of this ordeal, and offered public assurances that the PetroChina move would not aid Khartoum. The public offering wound up being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission over the early release of information, which led to Goldman Sachs paying a $2 million settlement.
In rejoining the State Department, Hormats is returning to his Washington roots, where his career first began before joining Wall Street.
His father, Saul Hormats, was the chief scientist of the Army's Edgewood Arsenal and headed the team that developed chemical warfare agents. However, he later spoke out against the dangers of chemical warfare.
Bob Hormats was born in Baltimore on April 13, 1943. He was educated at Tufts University, earning a Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in economics and political science in 1965, and a Master of Arts (1966) and PhD (1970) in international economics from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
In 1969, Hormats joined the staff of the National Security Council (NSC) during the Nixon administration. He wound up spending eight years with the NSC, becoming a senior economic advisor and serving under Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski.
In 1977, he shifted to the State Department and served as Senior Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs until 1979. It was then on to working as an ambassador and Deputy US Trade Representative for two years, before serving as Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs from 1981-1982.
At that point Hormats left government service to join Goldman Sachs, eventually becoming vice chairman of the firm’s international operation. In 1998, he became a managing director.
In addition to working for Goldman Sachs, Hormats has been a visiting lecturer at Princeton University and the Brookings Institution, and a member of the board of visitors of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and the Dean’s Council of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and The Trilateral Commission, as well as a board member of The Hungarian-American Enterprise Scholarship Fund, Irvington Institute for Immunological Research, Engelhard Hanovia, Inc., The Economic Club of New York, and Freedom House.
Hormats’ publications include Reforming the International Monetary System(1987); American Albatross: The Foreign Debt Dilemma(1988); and The Price of Liberty: Paying for America's Wars(2007).
According to OpenSecrets.org, Hormats donated $128,375 to Democratic candidates, between 1989 and 2006, including multiple contributions to Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and the campaign fund that supports Democrats running for the U.S. Senate. He also donated to the campaigns of Republicans George H.W. Bush and Sen. Chuck Grassley.
Robert Hormats (Wikipedia)
Robert Hormats Speaks (Big Think)
Goldman’s Hormats: A Genocide Problem? (Marc Gunther)
Human Rights Groups Question Role State Department Nominee Played in Company Active In Sudan (by Jake Tapper, ABC News)
Video: A Conversation with Robert Hormats (Charlie Rose)
Goldman Settles Charges Of Illegally Promoting Stock (by Lauren Bayne Anderson, Washington Post)
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