Paulson, Henry Merritt, Jr., 1946–, U.S. investment banker and government official, b. Palm Beach, Fla., grad. Harvard (M.B.A., 1970). After working as an assistant to the comptroller at the Pentagon (1970–72) and in the White House (1972–73), he joined (1974) the investment banking firm of Goldman Sachs, rising to co-head of investment banking (1990), president and chief operating officer (1994), and chairman and chief executive officer (1999). An advocate of government balanced budgets, Paulson was appointed secretary of the treasury (2006–9) by President George W. Bush. In the credit crisis that began in 2007, Paulson, along with Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke, played a central role in the government's efforts to limit its economic effects and prevent a major recession. He details his work during those fateful months in his On the Brink (2010). Paulson is also an avid conservationist and served (2004–6) as board chairman for the Nature Conservancy.
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