Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

William E. Simon (1974): Secretary of the Treasury

William Edward Simon was born November 27, 1927, in Paterson, New Jersey, and earned a B.A. in government and law from Lafayette College in 1952. Simon was vice president and manager of the Municipal Trading Department at Union Securities (1955-1957) and vice president of Weeden and Company (1957-1964). He also worked for Salomon Brothers investment banking firm, where he became senior partner in charge of the Government Bond and Municipal Bond Departments in 1970.

He also served on the firm's seven-member executive committee. Simon was appointed by President Richard Nixon to chair the President's committee on oil policy, and later became administrator of the Federal Energy Office in 1973.

President Richard Nixon appointed Simon as Secretary of the Department of the Treasury in 1974; he continued to serve in that position from 1974 to 1977 in the administration of President Gerald Ford. Simon's key roles were overseeing the administration's reaction to the growing energy crisis, and dealing with the recession from his position as chair of President Ford's Economic Policy Board. Simon was also instrumental in developing Ford's tax plan of 1975 and the administration's reaction to the New York City fiscal crisis.

Simon went on to become chairman of the East-West Foreign Trade Board, the Council on Wage and Price Stability, the U.S. Olympic Foundation Board of Trustees, and U.S. governor of the International Monetary Fund.

He also assumed roles with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Asian Development Bank. Simon founded Wesray Corporation in 1987, and later founded and chaired WSGP International, Inc. He also served as president of the U.S. Olympic Committee. William Simon died on June 3, 2000, in Santa Barbara, California.