WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars mourns the passing of former TWC Board member John Whitehead, one of New York's most prominent citizens, a veteran of D-Day who capped a lauded career on Wall Street and in the State Department by shepherding the first years of the city’s fractious effort to rebuild after the 2001 terrorist attacks. Whitehead served as a director of TWC Board from 1989-1993 and subsequently served, until his death last Saturday at age 92, on TWC's Board of Advisors.
The columnist Liz Smith once called Mr. Whitehead the “chairman of the establishment.” He helped pilot Goldman Sachs to the forefront of investment banking and led the boards of Harvard, the Asia Society and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, among other institutions. As deputy secretary of state in the Reagan administration, he helped wean the countries of Eastern Europe from the Soviet Union.
He is survived by his wife, the former Cynthia Matthews; his daughters, Anne Whitehead and Sarah Whitehead; his son, J. Gregory Whitehead; two granddaughters; seven stepchildren; and 18 step-grandchildren, said Barry Zubrow, a close friend of more than 40 years.
For nearly 20 years, Mr. Whitehead was part owner of the New Jersey Devils of the National Hockey League. In his later years he collected art, particularly Impressionist paintings.
After returning from Washington, he was also chairman of AEA Investors, founded by the Rockefellers and other wealthy investors to buy midsize companies, improve their sales and then sell them.
Mr. Whitehead summed up his life in the last line of his memoir: “From first to last, I have been thrilled to be in on the action.” Mike Smith, TWC President, says Whitehead's integrity is captured in one sentence: "Our assets are our people, capital and reputation. If any of these is ever diminished, the last is the most difficult to restore".