Ex-Goldman Sachs leader, 9/11 Museum founding chairman dies

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NEW YORK (AP) — John C. Whitehead, a Wall Street banker who led Goldman, Sachs & Co.'s international expansion in the 1970s and '80s and later was founding chairman of the National Sept. 11 Memorial & Museum, died Saturday. He was 92.

Whitehead joined Goldman Sachs in 1947 and worked his way to senior partner and co-chairman before leaving 38 years later to become deputy secretary of state under President Ronald Reagan.

In later years, he was chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., which helped lead the area's rebuilding after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. He was acknowledged for overcoming obstacles to help ensure the 9/11 memorial and museum reached fundraising goals, finished with an acceptable design and got built.

The museum confirmed his death.

"In the wake of 9/11, amidst devastation and loss, our great city and nation needed a true leader to help guide the recovery and revitalization of lower Manhattan," it said in a news release. "We were blessed to have John take on that charge. He embarked on a journey marked by emotional, political, and physical challenges, steering downtown's resurgence and establishing a master plan for the World Trade Center rebuilding that would help to heal one of our nation's deepest wounds."

It added: "Throughout his 92 years, John consistently stood up for what is just and what is right, and in so doing, showed us all that leaders who have integrity at their core can make a tremendous difference on the national and global landscape."

The post-Sept. 11 roles came after numerous other achievements for the Evanston, Illinois, native who grew up in Montclair, New Jersey, including his service to his country: He was among those storming the beaches of Normandy during World War II.

The Haverford College and Harvard University graduate also participated in the invasions of Southern France, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

Before entering public service full time, Whitehead worked in finance, eventually heading Goldman, Sachs for eight years. He also served as director of the New York Stock Exchange, chairman of the Securities Industry Association and chairman of the board for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

In 1985, he was appointed by Reagan as deputy secretary of state. He remained in the Department of State's No. 2 position under Secretary George Shultz until January 1989.

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