For almost two decades, this influential, articulate and seasoned professional has been the leading voice for transparency and accountability in government. With over 37 years of experience in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, his extensive leadership experience spans numerous issues and organizations in all three sectors, including issues in the international and inter-governmental domains. He has been referred to as a modern day Paul Revere by Paul Volcker, Pete Peterson, and many others.
He currently serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of The Peter G. Peterson Foundation. The Peterson Foundation's mission is to promote greater federal financial responsibility and accountability today in order to create more opportunity tomorrow. This includes taking actions designed to enhance public understanding regarding the urgency of the fiscal and sustainability challenges that threaten America's future and to build public support for achieving the necessary changes.
In October 2010, he will leave his current position to launch the Comeback America Initiative, a new non-profit organization that will be supported by a three-year grant from the Peterson Foundation. He will serve as Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the new organization which will promote fiscal responsibility and sustainability by engaging the public and assisting key policy makers on a non-partisan basis in order to achieve solutions to the fiscal imbalances facing the federal, state and local governments.
Prior to joining the Peterson Foundation, he served as the seventh Comptroller General of the United States from 1998-2008. As Comptroller General, he was head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the de-facto Chief Accountability Officer of the United States Government. During this period he was a non-partisan and outspoken advocate for fiscal responsibility and government transformation. While head of GAO, he led reforms that dramatically improved the agency's performance, productivity, credibility, visibility and reputation. He also led efforts to help modernize the government accountability profession both domestically and internationally.
Prior to his appointment as Comptroller General of the United States, he served from 1989 to 1998 as a Partner and Global Managing Director of the Human Capital Services Practice with Arthur Andersen LLP. In this position, he had responsibility for the firm’s human capital strategy, change management, compensation, pensions and health care services. During this time, he also served from 1990-1995 as one of two Public Trustees for the U.S. Social Security and Medicare programs.
He has received Presidential appointments from Ronald Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush, and William Jefferson Clinton. He was confirmed unanimously all three times by the U.S. Senate. Prior to Arthur Andersen, he served in several senior leadership positions within the U.S. Government, including as Assistant Secretary of Labor for Pension and Employee Benefit Programs and acting head of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. His initial professional and private sector experience was gained with Price Waterhouse, Coopers & Lybrand, and Source Services Corporation.
In addition, he has experience with senior level government, private and independent sector officials in many states and a number of countries around the world. In November 2007, he was elected by the United Nations General Assembly to serve a four-year term as a member of the UN Independent Audit Advisory Committee (IAAC). He has also been elected Chairman of the IAAC each year by his colleagues from Russia, India, Uganda and Jamaica. He served as a member of the Board and Chair of the Strategic Planning Task Force for the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions. As Comptroller General, he also served as Chairman and the National Intergovenmental Audit Forum in the United States. This forum is comprised of leaders from federal, state and local audit and accountability organizations throughout the U.S.
He is a frequent speaker, Congressional witness, writer and media commentator. He has authored three books, including a National Best Seller entitled "Comeback America: Turning the Country Around and Restoring Fiscal Responsibility" (2010), as well as numerous articles and opinion pieces. He is the subject of the critically acclaimed documentary, I.O.U.S.A., and a 60 Minutes segment. He is also a member of several not-for-profit boards, advisory groups and other key organizations, including the PCAOB's Advisory Board and the Trilateral Commission.
He has won many awards for his leadership, accomplishments, writing and speaking, including Annual Financial Literacy Award from Wealth Watchers International (2010), the Presidential Award of Excellence from the President of Indonesia (2009), the Alexander Hamilton Leadership Award from the Center for the Study of the Presidency and the Congress (2009), the Gold Medal Award from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (2008), the Strategic Vision Award from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (2008), the Government Communicator of the Year Award from the Association of Government Communicators (2008), the Distinguished Service Award from the Secretary of Defense (2008), the Economic Patriot of the Year Award from The Concord Coalition (2007), the Presidential Achievement Award with Sash from the President of Austria (2006), and the George Romney National Public Administrator of the Year award (2006).
Born in 1951 in Birmingham, Alabama, he is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and holds a Bachelors Degree in Accounting from Jacksonville University (Florida), a Senior Managers in Government Certificate from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and several honorary doctorate degrees from various universities, including The American University and his undergraduate alma mater.
He is married to the former Mary Etheredge of Jacksonville, Florida. They have two grown children and three grandchildren. They currently reside in the Black Rock section of Bridgeport, CT.
He is the eighty-sixth member of The Accounting Hall of Fame, David Michael Walker.