Henry Paulson

DEFINITION of 'Henry Paulson'

The 74th Secretary of the U.S. Treasury under President George W. Bush from July 2006 through January 2009. Henry “Hank” Paulson, Jr. began his career on the White House Domestic Council as a staff assistant from 1970 to 1973. He then worked in finance for 32 years at Goldman Sachs before succeeding John Snow as Treasury Secretary.

BREAKING DOWN 'Henry Paulson'

Paulson became Goldman’s chairman and CEO in 1999 when the firm went public and held those roles until he became Treasury Secretary. As Treasury Secretary, he is best known for his efforts to resolve the financial crisis, including contributions to Dodd-Frank. He was instrumental in implementing the Troubled Asset Relief Program and the AIG bailout, as well as getting toxic mortgage-based assets off banks’ balance sheets. He also helped create the $168 billion economic stimulus package. In 2008, he was a runner-up for Time's Person Of The Year.

Paulson helped improve U.S. economic relations with China during his tenure. In addition, he worked to modernize the system for issuing U.S. Treasury bonds, helped  improve the national security review process in order to spur foreign investment in the United States, and spearheaded a program to fight the funding of terrorist groups. He also worked to improve the United States’ trading relationships with Panama, Colombia, South Korea and Peru.

After leaving the Treasury Department, he became chairman and founder in 2011 of The Paulson Institute at the University of Chicago, a think tank focused on sustainable economic growth and preserving the natural environment in the United States and China. He is a Christian Scientist and an environmentalist; he has played a major role in the Nature Conservancy, where he was chairman from 2004 to 2006 and contributed to environmental conservation efforts in Asia. He earned his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth and his MBA from Harvard Business School.

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