George Shultz Wiki – Biography
He was an American economist, statesman, and businessman. He has held various positions under three different Republican presidents and is one of two persons serving at four different Cabinet levels. Shultz played an important role in shaping the foreign policy of the Ronald Reagan administration. From 1974 to 1982 he was the director of the Bechtel Group, an engineering and services company.
Born in New York, graduating from Princeton University before serving in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. After the war, Shultz received a doctorate degree. In industrial economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He taught at MIT from 1948 to 1957, and in 1955 he received permission to take a position on the Economic Advisors Council of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. After serving as dean of the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business, he accepted the appointment of President Richard Nixon as United States Secretary of Labor. In this position, he imposed the Philadelphia Plan on construction contractors who refused to accept black members, and pointed to the first use of racial quotas by the federal government. He became the first director of the Office of Management and Budget in 1970 and served in this position until he was appointed United States Secretary of the Treasury in 1972. In this role, Shultz supported the Nixon shock (a bad economy partially removing the gold standard) and Bretton Woods presided over the end of the system.
Shultz left the Nixon administration in 1974 to become a manager at Bechtel. After becoming president and director of this company, he accepted President Ronald Reagan’s offer to serve as the United States Secretary of State. He held this post from 1982 to 1989. Shultz pressured Reagan to establish relations with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, which led to a dissolution between the US and the Soviet Union. He opposed US aid to rebels trying to overthrow the Sandinistas using funds from illegal arms sales to Iran, which led to the Iran-Contra affair.
Shultz retired from public service in 1989, but remained active in business and politics. He served George W. Bush as an informal adviser and helped formulate Bush’s preventative war doctrine. He served on the Global Drug Policy Commission, on the Economic Improvement Council of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and on the boards of Bechtel and Charles Schwab Corporation.
Beginning in 2013, Shultz advocated an income-independent carbon tax as the most economically sound way to mitigate anthropogenic climate change. He was a member of the Hoover Institute, the Institute of International Economics, the Washington Institute of Near East Policy, and other groups.
Shultz was born on December 13, 1920 in New York, the only child of Margaret Lennox (née Pratt) and Birl Earl Shultz. He grew up in Englewood, New Jersey. His great-grandfather was an immigrant from Germany who came to the United States in the mid-19th century. Contrary to general assumption, Shultz is not a member of the Pratt family associated with John D. Rockefeller and the Standard Oil Trust.
After attending local public school, he transferred to Englewood Boys’ School (now Dwight-Englewood School) in his second year of high school.  In 1938, Shultz graduated from Loomis Chaffee School, a private boarding prep high school in Windsor, Connecticut. He received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Princeton University in New Jersey as a minor in public and international relations. His senior thesis, “Tennessee Valley Authority’s Agriculture Program,” examined the impact on local agriculture, which Tennessee Valley Authority did on-site research. He graduated in 1942 with honors.
From 1942 to 1945, Shultz was on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was an artillery officer who attained the rank of captain. During the Battle of Angaur (Battle of Peleliu) the US Army was divided into the 81st Infantry Division.
In 1949, Shultz received his doctorate degree. In industrial economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From 1948 to 1957, he taught at the MIT Department of Economics and the MIT Sloan School of Management in 1955 on leave to serve as Senior Staff Economist on President Dwight Eisenhower’s Council of Economic Advisors. In 1957, Shultz left MIT and joined the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business as professor of industrial relations and served as the Graduate School of Business Dean from 1962 to 1968. During his time in Chicago, he was impressed by the Nobel Prize Winners. Milton Friedman and George Stigler, who strengthened Shultz’s view of the importance of the free market economy
George Shultz Family
While serving in the Navy in Hawaii, he met military nurse lieutenant Helena Maria O’Brien (1915–1995). They married on February 16, 1946 and had five children: Margaret Ann Tilsworth, Kathleen Pratt Shultz Jorgensen, Peter Milton Shultz, Barbara Lennox Shultz White, and Alexander George Shultz. Helena died of pancreatic cancer in 1995.
In 1997, Shultz married Charlotte Mailliard Swig, one of San Francisco’s leading philanthropists and socialites.
His grandson Tyler Shultz is a whistleblower who exposed mock lab tests at Theranos during his tenure, while George Shultz is a board member of the company (see chapter “Theranos scandal”).
Died on the Stanford University campus on February 6, 2021.