In Memoriam
Walter B. Wriston

Walter B. Wriston was a founding member and supporter of RiverOak Investment Corp. His early contributions to the firm went well beyond capital and contacts. Walter assisted in shaping an ethos for our fledgling enterprise and became a mentor to our principals.

He was the former chairman and CEO of Citicorp. As chief executive of Citibank / Citicorp (later Citigroup) from 1967 to 1984, Walter was widely regarded as the single most influential commercial banker of his time. During his tenure as CEO, the bank introduced, among other innovations, automated teller machines, interstate banking, the negotiable certificate of deposit, and "pursued the credit card business in a way that no other bank was doing at the time" . With then New York Governor Hugh Carey and investment banker Felix Rohatyn, Walter helped save New York City from bankruptcy in the mid-1970s by setting up the Financial Control Board and the Municipal Assistance Corporation, and persuading the city's union pension funds and banks to buy the latter corporation's bonds.

Walter attended Wesleyan University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1941. While there, he was a member of the Eclectic Society and received the "Parker Prize" ("Awarded to a sophomore or junior who excels in public speaking"). He received a Master's Degree from Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 1942.

After graduate school, he became a junior Foreign Service officer at the State Department, where he helped negotiate the exchange of Japanese interned in the United States for Americans held prisoner in Japan. Drafted into the U.S. Army in 1942, he served in the U.S. Army for four years, being with the Signal Corps on Cebu in the Philippines during his service.

He served as Chairman of The Business Council in 1981 and 1982. From 1982 to 1989, Walter was chairman of President Ronald Reagan's Economic Policy Advisory Board, and in June 2004 awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civil honor, by President George W. Bush.

Walter’s spirit lives on in the work we do.

[1] Forbes, January 2005

<< Return