A conversation with Fred P. Hochberg

October 29, 2012
6:00 - 7:30 pm
Weiner Auditorium ( Taubman Building, ground floor)

The Activist Studio


A conversation with

Fred P. Hochberg

moderated by

Richard Parker

Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School


Fred P. Hochberg is an American businessman who has played leadership roles in government, non-profit and academic organizations. He is currently chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, having been appointed in January 2009 and confirmed in May 2009. He was a fundraiser for the campaign of Barack Obama for President and a member of the Obama transition team. He has also contributed opinion pieces and commentaries to a number of news outlets. He previously served as acting administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA) in the Clinton Administration. Hochberg received his B.A. from New York University and an MBA from Columbia before attending the executive leadership program of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He was in December 2003 appointed Dean of the Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy, a post he left in late 2008. Hochberg began his business career managing his mother's mail order business, the Lillian Vernon Corporation, which he developed over the next 20 years into a publicly traded direct marketing corporation described by Forbes as "one of the great success stories of American entrepreneurship." He is listed as of 2008 as a director of Fusion Telecommunications International, Incorporated. Hochberg has been dedicated to community service and philanthropic involvement in civil rights, education and the arts. He recently sat on the boards of the Citizens' Budget Commission, FINCA International (an international lending institution) and Seedco, a company that provides financial, technical and management support to nonprofits and small businesses in disadvantaged communities. He was also, in 2008, a member of the Board of Commissioners of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

In 1998 Hochberg became deputy administrator of the Small Business Administration, later becoming the organization's acting administrator. He remained in the post at the SBA until January 2001, serving also on US President Bill Clinton's Management Council. Hochberg was a bundler of contributions for the Obama campaign; some bundlers collected $500,000 for the campaign. Hochberg was an Agency Review team leader for the SBA on then-President-elect Barack Obama's transition team. President Obama nominated Hochberg to be chairman and president of Ex-Im Bank on April 20, 2009. The U.S. Senate confirmed his nomination by unanimous consent on May 14, 2009, for a term ending on January 20, 2013. He was sworn in on May 21, 2009. Press reports had suggested Hochberg might be chosen as Obama's Secretary of Commerce, becoming the first openly LBGT member of the US Cabinet,[9] but ABC News reported on January 9, 2009 that Hochberg would instead be appointed chair of the Export-Import Bank, which finances the sale of US exports. Today as head of Ex-Im Bank, Hochberg is one of the most senior openly gay members of the Obama Administration.

Hochberg is a native of the greater New York metropolitan area. He has served as chair of the Human Rights Campaign, a prominent lesbian and gay rights group. In the April 2007 issue of Out Magazine he was ranked the 15th most powerful gay person in America. He lives with his partner, the writer Tom Healy. He has also served on the boards of Playwrights Horizon and the Wolfsonian Art Museum, and on the Democratic National Committee. 

Richard Parker is Lecturer in Public Policy and Senior Fellow of the Shorenstein Center. An Oxford-trained economist, his career before coming to the Kennedy School in 1993 included journalism (he cofounded the magazine Mother Jones as well as Investigative Reporters & Editors, and chairs the editorial board of The Nation); philanthropy (as executive director of two foundations he donated more than $40 million to social-change groups); social entrepreneurship (he grew environmental group Greenpeace from 2,000 to 600,000 supporters, helped launch People for the American Way, and raised over $250 million for some 60 non-profits), and political consulting (advising, among others, Senators Kennedy, Glenn, Cranston, and McGovern). From 2009 to 2011 he was an economic advisor to Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou. For more information, please visit his Harvard faculty Web site.

This event is co-sponsored with:

  • The Harvard Gay and Lesbian Caucus 

Fred Hochberg in the Huffington Post: