Timothy Geithner

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Timothy Geithner
Occupation Former Secretary of the U.S. Treasury
Location Washington, D.C.

Timothy Geithner served as the 75th Secretary of the U.S. Treasury from 2009 to 2013. He left the post in January 2013 and was succeeded by then-Chief of Staff Jack Lew.[1] In November 2013 he became president of the private-equity firm Warburg Pincus LLC.[2]

As Treasury Secretary, he was a principal architect of the bailouts of Bear Stearns and American International Group. He also administered the Troubled Asset Relief Program and helped develop the Dodd-Frank banking reform laws.[3]

Geithner published Stress Test, a book about his role in the financial crisis of 2008, in May 2014.[4]


Geithner was born on Aug. 18, 1961, in New York, New York. He's studied Japanese and Chinese, and has lived in East Africa, India, Thailand, China, and Japan.

In December 2001, he was appointed director of the Policy Development and Review Department (PDR) of the International Monetary Fund, in Washington, D.C. He joined the IMF in September 2001. From February to August 2001, Geithner was a senior fellow in international economics, at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C.

Geithner served as Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs from 1998 to 2001 under Secretaries Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers. Prior to his position as under secretary, Geithner served as Assistant Secretary and Senior Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs. He joined the Treasury in 1988, and held a variety of positions, including the assistant attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan and the Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Monetary Affairs in the International Affairs Division. Geithner worked for Kissinger Associates, Inc. in Washington, D.C. from 1985 to 1988 before joining the US Treasury.[5]

New York Fed, 2003-2008[edit]

On Nov. 20, 2003, Geithner was named the ninth president and chief executive officer of the Second District Federal Reserve Bank of New York. In that capacity, he serves as the vice chairman and a permanent member of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). As president of the New York Fed, Geithner was involved in the move to rescue Bear Stearns and American International Group and the decision to let Lehman Brothers collapse amid the financial crisis of 2008.[6]

On Nov. 24, 2008, President-elect Barack Obama confirmed that Geithner would be nominated to replace Henry Paulson at the U.S. Treasury Department.[7]

Treasury Secretary, 2008-2013[edit]

His nomination became controversial when it was revealed that Geithner had failed to pay nearly $40,000 in taxes on income received from the International Monetary Fund in 2001 and in three subsequent years.[8]

Geithner was nominated for the position of Treasury Secretary by President Barack Obama. When he appeared in front of the Senate Finance Committee for confirmation hearings, he was interrogated about his plans to deal with the flailing economy, failing banks and rising foreclosures. As Secretary of the Treasury, Geithner would oversee the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).[9]

Geithner told the Senate Finance Committee that he was careless in failing to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes earlier in the decade but declared "I have paid what I owed" and apologized to Congress. He told the Senate Finance Committee he was sorry that his past transgressions were an issue in his confirmation at a time of deepening economic distress. He urged Congress to act quickly and forcibly to deal with the crisis. A top administration priority is to foster economic recovery and "get credit flowing again," Geithner testified.

As to his failure to pay payroll taxes from 2001 to 2004 while he worked for the International Monetary Fund, Geithner said those were "careless mistakes." He added that the mistakes were "unintentional" and that he "should have been more careful."[10]

But on January 26, 2009, Geithner was confirmed as the 75th Treasury Secretary in a 60-34 vote, and ran the agency through the financial crisis and its aftermath. Though his tenure was marked by controversies such as the distribution of TARP funds, and details of the bailouts of AIG and Citigroup, the nation's fiscal situation was more solid at the end of his run as secretary than it was at the beginning.

He was expected to stay in the position through Obama's term after intense White House pressure to do so.[11] The move allowed the Obama Administration to maintain continuity in economic policy amid investor concern that a two-year-old expansion may be stalling.[12]


Geithner graduated from Dartmouth College with a B.A. in government and Asian studies in 1983. Geithner earned an M.A. in international economics from The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in 1985.