Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Backing the Future: The economist and lawyer Roger Ferguson ’79 talks about his dreams—and the reality of helping others realize theirs

By Daniel Doktori ’13

Not surprisingly, it hadn’t been easy to get a half-hour on the schedule of the president and CEO of Fortune magazine’s 88th largest corporation in the U.S. But when Roger Ferguson ’79, chief of the financial services giant TIAA-CREF and former vice chair of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve, sat down for an interview in the company’s midtown Manhattan offices, his most salient characteristic seemed his humility. When I thanked him for sharing some helpful career insights, he responded, with a smile, “I live to serve.” After I promised some “whimsical questions,” he pre-empted, “As long as you don’t mind dull aging baby boomer answers.” The office reflected the man. No treadmill desk. No granite appointments. No flat-screen televisions. The highlight of the upcoming weekend? His son’s lacrosse game (Yale beat Brown 11-8, to Dad’s dismay). Hoping to live vicariously, I inquired as to the best perk of being CEO of a $400 billion company. “We have no perks,” he deadpanned. “Every penny that we save goes back to somebody’s retirement. And it’s a $500 billion company.” Facts are facts.

Read the full article in the HLS Bulletin website.