William Rhodes is former chairman, CEO and president of Citibank, and senior vice chairman of Citigroup. He gained worldwide reputation for international financial diplomacy in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s as a result of his leadership in helping manage the external-debt crises that involved developing nations and their creditors worldwide. During that period and in the 1990s, he headed the advisory committees of international banks that negotiated debt-restructuring agreements for Argentina, Brazil, Jamaica, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, Nicaragua and Iraq. In 1998, when the Republic of Korea experienced liquidity problems, he chaired the international bank group that negotiated the extension of short-term debt of the Korean banking system. In early 1999, at the request of the government of Brazil, he acted as worldwide coordinator to help implement the maintenance of trade and interbank lines by foreign commercial banks to Brazil. He has since served as a trusted advisor to governments, financial officials and corporations worldwide.
He has received decorations and honors from various governments and institutions, including an honorary doctorate in humane letters from his alma mater Brown University, where he established the William R. Rhodes Center for International Economics and Finance; Officer and Chevalier of France’s Legion of Honor; decorations from Poland, Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia, Panama and Jamaica; and multiple awards from not-for-profit organizations such as the Africa-America Institute, Arab Bankers Association of North America, the America-Israel Friendship League and Sciences Po Foundation, Pro Mujer, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Boy’s Scouts Award in recognition of his contributions to international banking and finance.
He authored the book Banker to the World: Leadership Lessons from the Front Lines of Global Finance. The book is available in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Korean, Japanese, Portuguese and a separate edition published by Tata in India and the Sub-continent.