Paul Volcker was the Chairman of the Federal Reserve under United States Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan (from August 1979 to August 1987). He is currently chairman of the newly formed Economic Recovery Advisory Board under President Barack Obama.
He earned his M.A. in political economy from Harvard University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and Graduate School of Public Administration in 1951 and then attended the London School of Economics from 1951 to 1952 as a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Fellow, under the Rotary's Ambassadorial Scholarships program.
In 1952 he joined the staff of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York as a full-time economist. He left that position in 1957 to become a financial economist with the Chase Manhattan Bank. In 1962 he joined the U.S. Treasury Department as director of financial analysis, and in 1963 he became deputy under-secretary for monetary affairs. He returned to Chase Manhattan Bank as vice president and director of planning in 1965.In 1975, Mr. Volcker also became a senior fellow in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.
In April 2004, the United Nations assigned Volcker to research possible corruption in the Iraqi Oil for Food program. He concluded in his March 2005 report that "there is no evidence that the selection of Cotecna in 1998 was subject to improper influence of the Secretary General in the bidding or selection process".Volcker was a director of the United Nations Association of the United States of America between 2000 and 2004, prior to his being appointed to the 'Independent' Inquiry by Kofi Annan. As of October 2006, he is the current Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the influential Washington-based financial advisory body, the Group of Thirty, and is a member of the Trilateral Commission.
He has had a long association with the Rockefeller family, not only with his positions at Chase Bank and the Trilateral Commission, but also through membership of the Trust Committee of Rockefeller Group, Inc. (RGI), which he joined in 1987. That entity managed, at one time, the Rockefeller Center on behalf of the numerous members of the Rockefeller clan. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the International House in Manhattan, NY. He was a founding member of the Trilateral Commission and is a long time member of the Bilderberg Group.
On January 21, 2010, President Barack Obama proposed bank regulations which contained similarities to part of Glass-Steagall which he dubbed "The Volcker Rule", in reference to Volcker's aggressive pursuit of these regulations.