There are few people who have effortlessly worn the hats of businessman, political powerbroker, lawyer, and authoritative voice on government policies as well as American corporate icon Richard Parsons. Although he trained as a lawyer and achieved fame after performing exceptionally well on the New York bar exam, he never pursued a career in law beyond a point and instead chose to work for President Gerald Ford. It was his tenure with President Gerald Ford that exposed him to the dynamics of the country’s powerful elite and undoubtedly shaped the way he conducted himself throughout the remainder of his career as one of the country’s corporate czars. He has held executive positions at some of the world’s largest corporations and is a globally respected business leader. Parsons enjoyed a glittering career at the numerous corporations for which he worked and led those titans with distinction during his tenure; however, he has also served as a key policymaker for US presidents, which is why he is regarded as one of corporate America’s leading lights in every way.
Childhood & Adolescence
Richard Dean Parsons was born in Brooklyn, New York on April 4, 1948 to Lorenzo Locklair Parsons and Isabelle Parsons. His father was an electrician in New York, while her mother was a housewife. The couple was blessed with five children.
Parsons was well-known as a gifted student, and he was allowed to skip grades in both high school and elementary school. He continued his education at the University of Hawaii, earning a Bachelor’s degree in 1968 at the age of twenty.
Richard Parsons attended Union University’s Albany Law School and graduated as a lawyer in 1971. Indeed, he earned the highest grades in his class and then placed first in the New York bar exam.
Career of Richard
Rather than join a law firm or establish his own practice, Parsons joined the legal team of then-New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller in 1971 and remained until Rockefeller was appointed vice president three years later.
In 1974, Parsons relocated to Washington, DC, and began working for then-President Gerald Ford. Throughout his tenure in the White House, he made numerous connections that would prove beneficial later in life.
Richard Parsons made his first foray into a serious legal career in 1977, when he joined the New York law firm Patterson, Belknap, Webb and Tyler. By the time he left the firm after eleven years, he had advanced to become one of the managing partners.
Richard Parsons was appointed Chief Operating Officer of the Saving Bank of New York in 1988; the Saving Bank of New York was also one of his clients during his tenure as a partner at the law firm Patterson, Belknap, Webb and Tyler.
The Savings Bank of New York was in poor financial health when Parsons became Chief Operating Officer; however, once appointed CEO in 1991, he turned around the bank’s fortunes and turned it profitable. The bank was renamed Dime Bancorp four years later after merging with Anchor Savings Bank.
Parsons became president of Time Warner in 1995 and led the company through a difficult period; as a result, he was promoted to CEO in 2002, following the company’s merger with AOL. In 2008, he announced his departure from AOL-Time Warner.
Parsons maintained an active interest in Republican politics despite his hectic schedule as a board member of Estee Lauder and Citigroup. In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed him co-chairman of the President’s Commission on Social Security Strengthening. He was appointed economic adviser by then-President-elect Barack Obama in 2008.
Richard Parsons was appointed chairman of Citigroup in 2009, and given the bank’s predicament following the financial meltdown, it was one of his most difficult roles. He restored the bank’s stability before resigning as chairman in 2012.
Works of Significant Value
There is no doubt that Richard Parsons has accomplished some remarkable things during his corporate career, including mind-boggling deals like the $165 billion AOL-Time Warner merger, but his most significant accomplishment was stabilizing a massive bank like Citi following the bank’s billion-dollar losses during the subprime mortgage crisis.
His net worth was estimated to be $100 million in 2012, when he retired from his Citigroup position.
Personal History and Endowment
In 1968, Parsons married Laura Ann Bush, the daughter of President George Herbert Walker Bush. The couple has three children: Gregory and Leslie are sons, and Rebecca is a daughter.
Parsons was involved in an affair with African model Macdella Cooper, with whom he fathered a child in 2009.
Estimated Net Worth
His company, Coordination Group Publications, is valued at £120 million, equating to a net worth of £114 million for Parsons, who owns 95 percent.