As head of the Partnership for New York City, Kathryn Wylde acts as the voice for 200 of the city's most powerful CEOs.
A Wisconsin native, Wylde moved to New York in the late '60s and took a job in the community relations department of the Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn. She spent 11 years there, leaving in 1982 to join the Partnership for New York City, three years after David Rockefeller founded the organization. She started out running affordable housing programs; in 1996, she began managing the group's $110 million New York City Investment Fund, which was established by Henry Kravis to invest in affordable housing and commercial developments in economically distressed communities. She was named president of the organization in 2000.
A savvy and extraordinarily well connected political operator, Wylde has been called "Roberta Moses" for her ability to ram the Partnership's projects through the city bureaucracy. Indeed, while the Partnership for New York City's name makes it sound wholly benevolent, its real purpose is to advance the interests of big New York City businesses—which, of course, don't always align with the interests of the public. Wylde supported Bruce Ratner's highly unpopular Atlantic Yards project and has defended giving corporations massive tax breaks to keep them in New York City. She also aggressively supported Mayor Bloomberg's ill-fated congestion pricing plan, not that her support made much of a difference.
The Partnership board includes some of the most powerful business leaders in New York. Board members include Victor Ganzi, Chuck Prince, Dick Parsons, Kevin Burke, Robert Catell, Jamie Dimon, Steve Rattner, Richard Fuld, Steve Roth, Howard Rubenstein, Bill Rudin, Steve Schwarzman, Bruce Mosler, Jerry Speyer, Gerry Laybourne, John Thain, Jim Tisch, Rupert Murdoch, and Tim Zagat.
Wylde is on the board of the Manhattan Institute, along with Christopher Browne, Bruce Kovner, Joseph Rice, and Peggy Noonan. She also chairs the board of Lutheran Medical Center, the community hospital in Brooklyn where she started her career.
The unmarried Wylde lives in Brooklyn. She has a second home in Puerto Rico.