April 18, 2003 - The Detriot News: Peru RPCV Peter McPherson will lead the effort to re-establish a financial system in war-torn Iraq
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April 18, 2003 - The Detriot News: Peru RPCV Peter McPherson will lead the effort to re-establish a financial system in war-torn Iraq
Peru RPCV Peter McPherson will lead the effort to re-establish a financial system in war-torn Iraq
Read and comment on this story from The Detriot News on Michigan State University President Peter McPherson who has been chosen to lead the effort to re-establish a financial system in war-torn Iraq. McPherson is expected to serve as a liaison between Treasury Secretary John Snow and military officials in charge of the rebuilding effort.
"He's always been successful at everything he has done. I think he's a great choice," said Peter Magrath, president of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges. Magrath spoke with McPherson, who serves on his board, about the job Wednesday. "This is the key position to handle the financial stability to reconstruct the government," Magrath said. "Here's a man who's been deputy Treasury secretary and he was brilliant in that job. He knows how to run complicated institutions like MSU. The track record is outstanding." McPherson was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Peru in 1964-65 and provided technical backstop for 45 other Volunteers working with the U.S. School Feeding Program, and with credit unions and A.I.D. projects. Read the story at:
MSU chief takes job in Iraq*
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MSU chief takes job in Iraq
Bush hires President McPherson to oversee effort to rebuild country's financial system
By Charlie Cain, Margarita Bauzá, and Lisa Zagaroli / The Detroit News
EAST LANSING -- Michigan State University President Peter McPherson, a former deputy U.S. Treasury secretary, is expected to lead the Bush administration's effort to re-establish a financial system in war-torn Iraq.
McPherson, 62, will take a leave of absence from the school he has headed since 1993 to accept the temporary assignment of helping to reconstruct a banking and monetary system in Iraq. Lou Anna Kimsey Simon, MSU's provost and vice president for academic affairs, is expected to be named acting president.
Neither the White House nor MSU would confirm McPherson's appointment on Thursday.
"I have talked with President McPherson and he did say he is having discussions with the Bush administration about recovery in Iraq and he also told me to make sure that people knew that there are no plans for him to leave permanently the presidency of MSU," said Terry Denbow, MSU's vice president for university relations.
Eight people officially have been named to the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance for post-war Iraq, which will be headed up by retired Army Lt. Gen. Jay Garner, said Cmdr. Chris Isleib, a Defense Department spokesman. The office, temporarily based in Kuwait, is in the process of moving to Iraq.
Garner, other American officials and Iraqi representatives met in Nasiriyah on Tuesday to begin forming an interim government that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says would allow Iraqis to have an immediate role in ruling their own country.
McPherson is expected to serve as a liaison between Treasury Secretary John Snow and military officials in charge of the rebuilding effort.
"He's always been successful at everything he has done. I think he's a great choice," said Peter Magrath, president of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges. Magrath spoke with McPherson, who serves on his board, about the job Wednesday.
"This is the key position to handle the financial stability to reconstruct the government," Magrath said. "Here's a man who's been deputy Treasury secretary and he was brilliant in that job. He knows how to run complicated institutions like MSU. The track record is outstanding."
Said U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee: "He's a highly qualified person for a difficult task."
MSU Trustee Scott Romney confirmed that McPherson "has had discussions with the government about a temporary assignment." But he said he couldn't say more until there was an official announcement from the federal government.
The Treasury Department is working to turn around Iraq's collapsed economy. Officials are developing a plan to transform its financial institutions to a free-market economy after years of a system rigidly controlled by Saddam Hussein. Treasury officials also want to help the new Iraqi government create a new currency.
McPherson's job won't be an easy one, said Ahmad Ezzeddine, assistant dean at Wayne State University's School of Business Administration.
"You cannot do a quick fix. It could take years because you're building a brand new infrastructure for a country, you're building institutions from scratch," said the Lebanon native who specializes in economic and trade-related issues of the Middle East.
Ezzeddine said the U.S. effort to help rebuild an Iraqi economy faces "many ambiguities.
"How much cooperation you will get from people internally is a big unknown at this point. There are a lot of internal pressures that will impact on what we try to do on the economic side. You cannot approach the economic situation without dealing with the political situation -- they will go hand-in-hand. "There are tremendous challenges."
MSU economics professor Charles Ballard said McPherson's expertise in financial matters before his arrival at MSU make him a logical pick.
"Given that he has a whole career before he came to MSU in international financial maters, he seems like a fine choice," Ballard said. "I imagine that his expertise in debt restructuring is going to be important. There already have been press reports into whether and to what extent Iraq's foreign debt will need restructuring.
"Obviously, it's a very big challenge, because this is a country that's broken."
McPherson is deeply experienced in government service and banking.
He was special assistant to President Ford from 1975-77 and worked closely with then-White House chiefs of staff Donald Rumsfeld and Richard Cheney. Rumsfeld is now Defense secretary and Cheney is vice president.
McPherson served as deputy secretary of the Treasury Department from 1987-89, focusing on trade and international issues. And as administrator for the Agency of International Development from 1981-87, he spent much of his time overseeing U.S. aid to Africa during the country's food crisis.
He was a top-ranking executive at the Bank of America for four years before coming to MSU.
MSU's financial crisis
McPherson's departure comes at a difficult time for MSU and may leave his deputies to make some tough decisions in the coming months. Gov. Jennifer Granholm had proposed cutting university budgets by 6.5 percent for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1. That's on top of 3.5 percent cuts since December.
MSU already has said it will make staff and program cuts, including the elimination of the Agricultural Engineering Department. By summer the school will have to decide how much tuition rates will go up, amid predictions it will be in the double-digits.
Many of the 44,000 students at MSU were shocked -- but proud -- to learn of McPherson's new assignment.
"I think that's really cool," said Thomas Bellsky, a math senior from Frankenmuth. "I know McPherson served in the Peace Corps in Peru and he has been a pretty good president. His first five years he helped keep tuition within inflation, though that's kind of out of his hands now."
Bush calls again
This isn't the first time the Bush administration has called on McPherson, a man who likes to chew on unlit cigars.
He serves as the secretary of the Energy Advisory Board, the highest external advisory board in the U.S. Department of Energy, and serves on its Task Force on the Future of Science Programs.
Last August, President Bush invited McPherson to an all-day economic forum he staged at Baylor University. The only other Michigan person participating was J.T. Battenberg, president of Troy-based Delphi Corp.
Last May, Bush appointed McPherson to the Board for International Food and Agriculture Development for a term expiring in 2005.
You can reach Charlie Cain at (517) 371-3660 or ccain@ detnews.com.
More about Peru RPCV Peter McPherson
Read more about Peru RPCV Peter McPherson at:
Biography of Peter McPherson
M. Peter McPherson
Office of the President
Michigan State University
450 Administration Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1046
PRESIDENT, MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY - OCTOBER 1993-PRESENT
Forty-four thousand (44,000) students. Extensive research and outreach. Budget of $1.1 Billion.
BANK OF AMERICA:
GROUP EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT GROUP- APRIL 1993 - OCTOBER 1993
Responsible for personal trust development, domestic and international private banking, institutional investment and mutual funds. Reported to CEO.
GROUP EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, LATIN AMERICA AND CANADA DIVISION - NOVEMBER 1990 - APRIL 1993
Responsible for the bank's work in Latin America and Canada, plus the debt problem described below. Banks in five Latin countries and a bank in Canada.
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, GLOBAL DEBT RESTRUCTURING ADMINISTRATION - APRIL 1989 - NOVEMBER 1990
Responsible for all bank negotiations of trouble sovereign debt (approximately eight billion dollars of debt.)
Other functions at Bank of America:
Developed and carried out the donation of six million dollars, face value, of troubled debt for rain forest preservation work in Latin America.
Was a member of the banking industry committee that worked with FDIC on recapitalization of that organization.
Chairman of the banking industry advisory committee for the negotiation of the banking provisions of the NAFTA.
DEPUTY SECRETARY OF TREASURY DEPARTMENT - AUGUST 1987 - MARCH 1989
Number two position in the Department. Special focus on Trade, Tax, and International issues. One of three negotiators for Canadian Free Trade Agreement in final weeks. Member of the Farm Credit Assistance Board and Member of the Board of the Federal Financing Bank.
Acting Secretary of the Treasury for a period between Secretaries Baker and Brady. Periodically functioned as Acting Secretary when the Secretary was out of town.
ADMINISTRATOR, AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT - FEBRUARY 1981 - AUGUST 1987
The A.I.D. program involved missions in 70 countries, a staff of 5,000 and a budget of about $6 billion a year. Reported to Secretary of State.
Was in charge of the U.S. response to the Great Famine in Africa in 1984 - 1985. Delivered more than two million tons of food to Africa over a 12 month period.
Lead world-wide effort with UNICEF to deal with diarrhea, then the biggest killer of children in developing world.
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD, OVERSEAS PRIVATE INVESTMENT CORPORATION - FEBRUARY 1981- AUGUST 1987
OPIC was a self-sustaining government agency with net assets of over $800 Million and net income of over $100 million. OPIC provides loans, guarantees, and political risk insurance coverage for U.S. investors in Third World countries.
Helped plan Reagan/Bush transition and then was General Counsel of the transition in 1980-81. Legal Counsel to President Reagan for the first three weeks of his administration, an exciting period.
VORYS, SATER, SEYMOUR AND PEASE - JANUARY 1977 - NOVEMBER 1980
Partner and head of Washington office and of this large Ohio law firm. Specialized in international and corporate tax matters, and was Washington counsel for Virginia State University and did work for other universities.
THE WHITE HOUSE - MARCH 1975 - JANUARY 1977
Special assistant to President Ford and Deputy Director, Presidential Personnel Office
INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE - 1969 - 1975
Tax Law Specialist, Corporation Branch in the national office. Extensive work on all aspects of international taxation.
Peace Corps Volunteer in Peru in 1964-65. Technical backstop for 45 other Volunteers working with the U.S. School Feeding Program, and work with credit unions and A.I.D. projects.
Former Member of Presidentially Appointed Board of International Food and Agriculture Development from 1977 to 1980. Appointed by President Ford. Board advises A.I.D. on agriculture research, training and extension.
Board of Directors of Dow Jones and Company, the publisher of The Wall Street Journal
Board of Trustees of Series Trust controlled by Jackson National Life. Trust has about $1 billion of assets in annuities
Board of Directors of a National Association of Land Grant Colleges and Universities
Former International Board of Advisors of Komatsu Company, a multi-billion dollar Japanese equipment manufacturer
Former Chairperson of the Big Ten Council of Presidents
Former Board of Directors of American Council on Education
Chaired Blue Ribbon Committee to review Lansing School System (18,000 students)
Chaired Blue Ribbon Mid-Michigan Committee to review children's issues from birth to age five
UNICEF award for "Outstanding Contribution to Child Survival."
U.S. Presidential Certificate of Outstanding Achievement for "continued demonstrated vision, initiative, and leadership in efforts to achieve a world without hunger."
Secretary of state Distinguished Leadership Award for "Distinguished contribution to the development, management, and implementation of current foreign policy."
Honorary Doctorate of Law from Michigan State University, 1984.
Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Mount St. Mary's College, 1986.
Honorary Doctorate of Human Letters from Virginia State University, 1984.
"Humanitarian of the Year" award from the American Lebanese League, 1983.
B.A. Political Science, Michigan State University, 1963.
M.B.A., Western Michigan University, 1967.
J.D., American University Law School, 1969.
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This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Peru; Iraq; Finance; University Administration
What of opportunites for RPCVs in the rebuilding of Iraq? Anyone aware of names and addresses of employers?