Henry M. Paulson, Jr., is a businessman, China expert, conservationist, and author. He is the founder and chairman of the Paulson Institute.
Paulson is dedicated to the advancement of free markets, environmental protection, the rule of law, and upholding the basic rights of democracy. Throughout his professional life, he has worked around the globe to support these ideals. His career spans two stints in the public sector, a career in the private sector, and the founding of his own not-for-profit.
Paulson served as the 74th Secretary of the Treasury under President George W. Bush, from July 2006 to January 2009. As Treasury Secretary, Paulson led the nation’s response to the financial crisis of 2008, helping to stabilize the global financial system and avoid a second Great Depression. He also designed the Strategic Economic Dialogue to revitalize the way US-China relations were conducted, achieving major breakthroughs on currency manipulation, trade flows, the environment, food and product safety, and global financial stability.
Prior to that, he had a thirty-two year career at Goldman Sachs, serving as co-chairman and co-CEO in 1998 and as chairman and CEO beginning in 1999. As a banker, he grew the Goldman Sachs presence in China, believing that it was important to bring best in class practices and standards to China. Earlier in his career, he was a member of the White House Domestic Council as well as a staff assistant at the Pentagon.
Today, he is chairman of the Paulson Institute, which aims to foster a US-China relationship that maintains global order in a rapidly evolving world. A “think and do” tank founded in 2011, the Institute operates at the intersection of economics, financial markets, environmental protection, and policy advocacy, in part by promoting balanced and sustainable economic growth. The Institute’s approach is an outgrowth of Paulson’s overarching commitment to engage with purpose and promote US-China ties in ways that help keep America strong and safe.
Paulson is co-chair of the Aspen Institute’s Economic Strategy Group, along with former White House chief of staff, Erskine Bowles. The Economic Strategy Group convenes, in a non-partisan spirit, a diverse range of distinguished leaders and thinkers to address significant structural challenges in the US economy.
Paulson also co-chairs the Advisory Board of the Bloomberg New Economy Forum, a conference of global leaders focused on emerging economies and technologies. The New Economy Forum is committed to promoting the smooth transition from the old economy—one based on labor-intensive manufacturing and trade in goods—to a new one focused on industrial automation, digital services and exchanges of data.
A lifelong conservationist, Paulson was Chairman of The Nature Conservancy Board of Directors and founded and co-chaired the organization’s Asia-Pacific Council. In 2011, he founded the Latin American Conservation Council, comprised of global business and political leaders, which he co-chaired until 2017. He also co-chaired the Risky Business Project from 2013 to 2017, a non-partisan initiative that quantified and publicized the economic risks of climate change in the United States.
Paulson is the author of the bestsellers On the Brink and Dealing with China. He is also the co-author of two books with Ben Bernanke and Tim Geithner: First Responders and Firefighting.
Paulson graduated from Dartmouth College in 1968 and received an M.B.A. from Harvard University in 1970. He and his wife, Wendy, have two children and four grandchildren.