Posts Tagged ‘John Whitehead’

Expressing Thanks to John Whitehead, an Extraordinary Man

Sunday, February 8th, 2015
Reviewing the Construction of the 9-11 Memorial

Reviewing the Construction of the 9-11 Memorial

Yesterday evening, the global business news media paid tribute to the contributions John Whitehead made over the course of his remarkable life. He died on Saturday at his home, at the age of 92. Mr. Whitehead had served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, commanding a landing craft on Omaha Beach in the D-Day invasion of Normandy.  After the war ended, he completed his MBA at Harvard Business School (and later established HBS’s social enterprise program), and then joined Wall Street investment bank Goldman Sachs. He rose to the rank of chairman, a position he held until he retired in 1984. In his “retirement” years, John Whitehead dedicated his time to public service and philanthropy. During the Reagan Administration, Mr. Whitehead served as deputy to U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz. He also served as chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and a board member of the New York Stock Exchange.

I am fortunate enough to be among the many who were mentored by John Whitehead and remember him with great fondness. In Contingency Planning and Disaster Recovery: A Small Business Guide (the first edition of the current Prepare for the Worst: Plan for the Best: Disaster Preparedness and Recovery for Small Businesses), I wrote (page x) “I am particularly grateful to John Whitehead, who was formerly the senior partner of Goldman Sachs. Many members of 85 Broads {a women’s networking group} told me of his generosity in sharing his time and experience to assist younger bankers who sought to launch their own enterprises. Two weeks after the attack on the World Trade Center, he spent a half-day providing his feedback for a community development fund of my company. Not long after that meeting, John Whitehead was appointed the chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.” The LMDC was formed to oversee the rebuilding of downtown Manhattan following the events of 9-11. John Whitehead was also founding chairman of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. I am grateful to have known him and am keeping the Whitehead family in my prayers.