William H. Donaldson

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William H. Donaldson
William Henry Donaldson.jpg
27th Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission
In office
February 18, 2003 – June 30, 2005
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byHarvey Pitt
Succeeded byChristopher Cox
Personal details
Born (1931-06-02) June 2, 1931 (age 89)
Buffalo, New York, USA
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Jane Phillips Donaldson
Alma materYale University (B.A.)
Harvard University (M.B.A.)
Occupationformer SEC chairman (retired)

William Henry Donaldson (born June 2, 1931) was the 27th Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), serving from February 2003 to June 2005. He served as Under Secretary of State for International Security Affairs in the Nixon Administration, as a special adviser to Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, Chairman and CEO of the New York Stock Exchange, and Chairman, President and CEO of Aetna.[1] Donaldson founded Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Donaldson attended both Yale University (B.A. 1953) and Harvard University (M.B.A. 1958). While he was a senior at Yale, he joined its Skull and Bones secret society.[3][4]


He began his career at G. H. Walker & Co., a banking and brokerage firm.[5]

Donaldson returned to Yale and founded the Yale School of Management, where he served as dean and professor of management studies. Donaldson had a vision of Yale's management program forming students who could easily and seamlessly flow between public and private management roles. This was a binary vision, emphasizing private for profit corporations and government leadership positions, while ignoring leadership in various not-for-profit, non-governmental organizations. His grand visions of balanced approaches were shattered when the first graduating class almost all took positions in business, almost none taking jobs with government.[6] The main building of the school continues to display a life-size portrait of him and the premier leadership award at Yale School of Management is called "Donaldson Fellows". He also served in the United States Marine Corps.[7]

He was Chairman of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace from 1999 to 2003.[8]

Donaldson is a chartered financial analyst (CFA) charterholder and has received a number of honorary degrees.[9]

He is on the board of IEX.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Donaldson is the father of three children and is married to Jane Phillips Donaldson.[9]


  1. ^ "Aetna chief: Aetna Inc. named William Donaldson chairman". Chicago Tribune. February 25, 2000.
  2. ^ Linder, Karen (2012). The Women of Berkshire Hathaway: Lessons from Warren Buffett's Female CEOs and Directors. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781118227411. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  3. ^ Robbins, Alexandra (2002). Secrets of the Tomb: Skull and Bones, the Ivy League, and the Hidden Paths of Power. Boston: Little, Brown. pp. 166, 173. ISBN 0-316-72091-7.
  4. ^ "Skull And Bones: Secret Yale Society Includes America's Power Elite", CBS News, June 13, 2004
  5. ^ Wall Street figure tapped to head SEC . San Francisco Chronicle, December 11, 2002
  6. ^ "Private Service" address by Lee Tom Perry on issues involved in the Yale Management School formation
  7. ^ Official biography at SEC website.
  8. ^ "Donaldson, William H."
  9. ^ a b "Bill Donaldson". NNDB. Retrieved January 26, 2015.
  10. ^ Executive Team, IEX, retrieved October 26, 2017

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Harvey Pitt
Securities and Exchange Commission Chair
2003– 2005
Succeeded by
Charles Christopher Cox