Goldman Sachs has just recruited the president of Barnard College to its board.We’re told an email was sent to Goldman employees this morning from Lloyd Blankfein and Gary Cohen announcing that Debora Spar’s appointment begins “effective immediately.”
Awesome birthday present for Spar, who turned 48 today, according to the Bloomberg wire service.
Spar’s new role in the Goldman Sachs family has her sitting on the audit, risk, compensation and corporate governance and nominating committees.
Spar taught for 17 years at Harvard Business School, of which she’s an alum, before her appointment to head Barnard in 2008. Incidentally Blankfein’s wife Laura is a Barnard alum and until today — she’s obviously had to resign the post — was on the board of the college, according to Bloomberg.
She’s a “political scientist by training,” who has focused on the international political economy in her research. Specifcally, “examining how rules are established in new or emerging markets and how firms and governments together shape the evolving global economy.”
The latter is obviously a facet that appealed to Goldman.
Here are 10 things you need to know about Debora Spar
1. Here’s Spar walking into the Barnard commencement last year alongside Meryl Streep.
2. On her appointment, Blankfein and Cohn said: “Debora’s valuable and independent perspective on finance and business, emerging markets and recruitment, particularly of women, will be a tremendous asset for Goldman Sachs in the years ahead.”
3. Education: She’s a Georgetown grad. She has a PhD from Harvard.
4. At Harvard Business School Spar was Professor of Business Administration and Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Research and Development. She taught classes on the politics of international business and economic development.
5. On her appointment, she said: “I find Goldman to be a particularly interesting company to be part of, given how involved they are with the international economy. It was a firm that fit my background and interests well.”
6. She’s been in discussions with the bank for 5 or 6 months.
7. She wrote a book called The Baby Business: How Money, Science and Politics Drive the Commerce of Conception and “was the first academic to mention fertility as a transaction through a business framework.”
8. She got married in 1987 to Miltos Catomeris, an architect, at a church at Harvard. He earned a Master of Architecture degree from Harvard.
9. Her dad is a dentist.
10. In response to this question, “What are the public policy implications in your description of this reoccurring give-and-take between innovators and regulators?” she said: “The most important implication is that both business and government need to realise that, at some stage, they will be working together. Smart businesses will realise that a completely apolitical strategy—a strategy that assumes governments will simply go away or get out of the market—simply will not work.”
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