Former President, World Bank Group; Chairman, Wolfensohn & Company, Washington, DC
Richard von Weizsäcker Distinguished Visitor - Class of Spring 2007
James Wolfensohn is an Australian-American lawyer, investment banker, and economist, who served two terms as the ninth president of the World Bank Group, from 1995 to 2005. At the World Bank, Wolfensohn implemented a range of significant reforms to abet debt reduction, environmental sustainability, anti-corruption programs, and AIDS prevention and treatment schemes.
Following his World Bank tenure, Wolfensohn was appointed Special Envoy for Gaza Disengagement by the US Department of State in 2005, charged with coordinating and overseeing the international community’s efforts in support of the disengagement initiative. He collaborated closely with the Palestinians to support specific reforms and took steps to promote economic recovery, good governance, and transparency.
Wolfensohn is currently Chairman of Wolfensohn & Company, LLC, an investment firm he established in 1981 to advise major US and international corporations, and Chairman of the Citigroup International Advisory Board.
In private practice, Wolfensohn was an executive partner of Salomon Brothers in New York and head of its investment banking department. He also served as executive deputy chairman and managing director of Schroders Ltd. in London, president of J. Henry Schroders Banking Corporation in New York, and managing director of Darling & Co. in Australia. In academia, Wolfensohn has served as chairman of the board of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University for the last 20 years. He is an honorary yrustee of The Brookings Institution and member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Century Association in New York. He is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, as well as the recipient of many awards for his volunteer work, including the first David Rockefeller Prize of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
He received an Honorary Knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to the arts and culture, and has also been decorated by the governments of Australia, Belgium, Brazil, France, Japan, Germany, Georgia, Mexico, Morocco, The Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Pakistan, and Russia.