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Tag Archives: U.S. Treasury Department

The financial industry is all about money. Not just money in the sense that it’s what the industry deals with, but also in terms of personal wealth.  Heads of large financial institutions receive annual salaries and compensations that are in the millions of dollars. Even lower ranked executives can earn annual compensations in the millions of dollars range.  Well. when you are in charge of millions or billions of dollars in assets perhaps it’s only fair to get such large sums.

It is a bit ironical that being in-charge of an entire country’s financial system doesn’t earn that much. As a public servant the orientation is a bit different from those in the private sector.  You are there to serve the public so money should not be such a big consideration in taking on the job.

This very well describes the role that Timothy Geithner has taken.  As head of the U.S. Treasury Department, Geithner has a huge responsibility.  The U.S. is still the world’s largest economy and actions taken by the Treasury Department affects the fortunes of billions of people around the world.  He also took on the challenge at the height of a financial crisis that not only affected America but the rest of the world as well.

His recent predecessors were all multi-millionaires, with his immediate predecessor Henry Paulson worth over half a billion dollars.  When he took on the job he even had to take over 50% in salary cut since his previous job as head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York paid more.  He did receive a severance pay of $434,668.00.  This is small compared to what others in the private sector would have received.

Forbes lists him as the 28th most powerful person in the world for 2010.  A net worth of around $2 million and an annual salary of $191,000 is not small, but compared to the task and responsibility at hand, it’s certainly not the compensation that attracted him to the job. Some believe that it mostly has to do with being able to serve the public.

There have been many questions whether he made the right decisions during such difficult times, but one thing is certain, Timothy Geithner belongs to a rare breed of men who believe that money isn’t everything.