John Whitehead, MBA 1947

Goldman Sachs

Interview conducted in July 2002

John Whitehead, HBS 1947, joined Goldman Sachs when its service offerings were almost exclusively in commercial paper. He soon created a department focused on developing new businesses. His personal approach: he sought out and listened to the firm’s clients, identified new business lines, and over time developed these into major service offerings. Indeed, it’s difficult to imagine the world of Goldman Sachs before such things as M&As, IPOs, and other financial services now so closely associated with the investment banking industry. After retiring from Goldman Sachs in 1984, John served as deputy secretary of state during the Reagan administration. In December 2001, he took on the task of managing the redevelopment of lower Manhattan following the attacks of September 11. He reflected on his life as an entrepreneur in a video interview at his Manhattan office in July 2002. Interviewer: Amy Blitz, HBS Director of Media Development for Entrepreneurial Management. John Whitehead died in 2015.

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