Rubin served as co-chairman of Goldman Sachs and U.S. Treasury Secretary under President Bill Clinton. Most recently, he served as the chairman of Citigroup's executive committee and as senior counselor to Citi's board of directors.
Rubin was raised in Miami and attended Harvard and Yale Law before beginning his career at the law firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton. He switched to the much more lucrative world of finance two years later, joining Goldman in 1966 as a junior arbitrage trader and becoming a protégé of the legendary Gus Levy. Rubin was named partner five years later and headed up the firm's risk arbitrage group during the 1980s (where he mentored future hotshots Eddie Lampert, Eric Mindich and Richard Perry), eventually taking over Goldman's bond business In 1987, he was elevated to co-COO of the firm; three years later, he was named co-chairman along with Stephen Friedman. His tenure at the top of the corporate pyramid, however, was relatively brief. Heeding the call of public service, Rubin left Goldman following Bill Clinton's 1992 victory, joining the Democratic administration as economic advisor. In 1995, he took over as Treasury Secretary, steering the U.S. through choppy waters as global financial crises unfolded in Latin America and Asia and presiding over a period of extraordinary economic growth. (The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 25 percent during his tenure.)
Just how much of that was due to Rubin or simply the overheated tech economy remains an open question, but by 1999, the man responsible for using "Rubinomics" to turn a budget deficit into a surplus had stepped down as Treasury Secretary to return to New York. He signed on as Citigroup's executive committee chairman a few months later.
Rubin arrived at Citi to help smooth over tensions between Sandy Weill and John Reed, the headstrong chief execs who'd formed Citigroup a year earlier with the merger of Citicorp and Travelers. At the time, Rubin suggested his role as consigliere would be a temporary one. But he soon settled in as the company's senior statesman, serving as a key advisor to Weill and his successor, Chuck Prince, and interfacing with the banking giant's most valuable clients (and occasionally opening doors with his formidable Rolodex).
It was a comfy part-time job that paid him handsomely—he earned $17.3 million in 2006—a last stop on the corporate money train before heading off into retirement to pursue his passion for fly-fishing. Things took a sharp turn in the fall of 2007, though, when the bank experienced the first strains of the credit crisis, announced billions in write-offs, and later ousted Prince from the top job. Rubin stepped in as acting chairman before Vikram Pandit was appointed chief executive officer and Sir Win Bischoff was named the bank's chairman. Rubin later served as senior counselor to Citi's board of directors before stepping down altogether in early 2009. Once one of the most respected men on Wall Street, Rubin's tenure at Citigroup during the global financial meltdown has seriously damaged his reputation.
Rubin penned In an Uncertain World: Tough Choices From Wall Street to Washington in 2003. The book, which was co-written with Slate editor-in-chief Jacob Weisberg, details how Rubin and his team navigated successive financial meltdowns in the late 1990s.
Rubin serves in the board of Mount Sinai along with his wife and fellow financial bigwigs Leon Black, Glenn Dubin, Carl Icahn, Henry Kravis, Marc Lasry, and Eric Mindich. He's also vice chair of the board of the Council on Foreign Relations. In the past, he's served on the board of the New York Stock Exchange, Ford Motor Company, Harvard, and the Carnegie Corporation.
The relatively low-key financial wizard is married to Judith Oxenberg Rubin, who once served as New York's Commissioner for Protocol for the City of New York. They have two adult sons, Jamie and Philip. The couple lives on Park Avenue (in the same building as Keith Barish) and spend weekends in Pound Ridge.