Paul H. O’Neill
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, Retired Trustee

September 17, 1981 through June 2018

Paul O’Neill was sworn in as the 72nd Secretary of the Treasury on January 20, 2001 by President George W. Bush and served until December 6, 2002.

O’Neill started his career in government service under President Kennedy and continued working under Presidents Johnson, Nixon and Ford. O’Neill’s mastery of federal budget details and process stems from his tenure at the US Office of Management and Budget (OMB). He joined OMB in 1967, and was deputy director of OMB from 1974 to 1977. He began his public service as a computer systems analyst with the US Veterans Administration, where he served from 1961 to 1966.

O’Neill was chairman and CEO of Alcoa from 1987 to 1999, and retired as chairman at the end of 2000. Prior to joining Alcoa, O’Neill was president of International Paper Company from 1985 to 1987, where he was vice president from 1977 to 1985. O’Neill’s unique experience transforming an old economy firm into a new economy success has been chronicled as a study by the Harvard Business School, and studied in business schools across the nation. O’Neill has gained valuable insights into international finance and the global economy as head of a major corporation with 140, 000 employees spread across 36 nations. Paul received the Gerald R. Ford Award for Distinguished Public Service in June 2019.

Paul H. O’Neill received a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Fresno State College in California, and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Indiana University. He was born in St. Louis, Missouri and resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He and his wife Nancy have four children and 12 grandchildren.

Read Oral History Interview with Paul O’Neill

Remarks at 2015 William E. Simon Lecture in Public Affairs
(remarks begin at 19:05 of video)

Paul O’Neill and wife Nancy are greeted by First Lady Betty Ford and President Gerald R. Ford in the receiving line at the Dinner in Honor of State Governors and their Spouses Attending the National Governor’s Conference on February 3, 1976. (Photo Courtesy of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library)

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