Robert D. Hormats is the U.S. Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs. He was formerly vice chairman of Goldman Sachs (International) and managing director of Goldman, Sachs & Co.
Hormats has also served as ambassador and deputy US Trade Representative, and senior deputy assistant secretary for Economic and Business Affairs at the US Department of State. He was a senior staff member on the National Security Council and senior economic advisor to National Security Advisors Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft, and Zbigniew Brzezinski. Hormats has received the French Legion of Honor and Arthur Fleming Award.
Mr. Hormats has been a visiting lecturer at Princeton University and is a member of the Board of Visitors of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and the Dean's Council of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Mr. Hormats' publications include Abraham Lincoln and the Global Economy; American Albatross: The Foreign Debt Dilemma; and Reforming the International Monetary System. Mr. Hormats earned a B.A. from Tufts University with a concentration in economics and political science; an M.A. and a Ph.D. in international economics from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
Question: What do you do?
Robert Hormats: I do a number of things, one of which is to work with my colleagues at Goldman Sachs on international financial transactions. In other words, if a country wants to do a bond issue, or a company wants to do stock issue in the United States, I’ll work with that company and with a team of my colleagues.
Or Americans who are interested in investing in other parts of the world, I talk to them, give them a sense of the options, the alternatives, the risks, the opportunities.
I also work with foreign governments fairly regularly on ways in which they can integrate themselves into the global financial system. And also with institutions like pension funds, mutual funds, insurance companies who are interested in developing a strategic policy for investing in the global economy; taking advantage of dramatic change in the global economy and helping them to understand the nature of the change, the opportunities and risks involved in it.
I was more interested initially in the financial side of the business just because I had a grounding in economics. I studied economics in college and graduate school. But I was interested initially in government. My first 13 years after graduate school were working in Washington [D.C.], and I had the opportunity to work for Henry Kissinger, and Brent Scowcroft, and ___________, and the National Security Council staff. And then Deputy U.S. Trade representative, and then the State Department as Assistant Secretary of State. And that was really my initial interest.
Working at Goldman Sachs really followed from that. I’d been in Washington 13 years and decided that I should try to do something else. And Goldman Sachs, at the time, was becoming much more international. It’s a very international firm today. It wasn’t always the case. And they were looking for people who knew a good deal about the global economy, global finance. And in some cases it worked for government, and I fit into that overall scheme and was hired as a result of that.
Recorded On: July 25, 2007