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Economic Club of New York

Updated: 2017-08-28T11:39Z
Economic Club of New York
Economic Club of New York Logo.jpg
FounderJ. W. Beatson
PurposeStudy and discussion of social, economic and political questions
HeadquartersNew York, NY
Terry J. Lundgren
Barbara M. Van Allen

The Economic Club of New York is a U.S. nonprofit and non-partisan membership organization dedicated to promoting the study and discussion of social, economic and political questions.


The Economic Club of New York was founded in 1907 by J. W. Beatson, Secretary of the National Economic League in Boston, and four business leaders from New York City. Its founders sought to follow the successful example of the Economic Clubs of Boston, Providence, Worcester, Portland, Springfield, and New Haven with the aim of bringing business people and others together for discussions of economic, social and other public issues in a non-partisan forum.[1] For many years, the Economic Club of New York was affiliated with the League for Political Education; their first president Robert Erskine Ely was also director of the League.[2]


The main activity of the Economic Club of New York is to regularly host prestigious guest speakers at its member (and their guests)-only dinners and luncheons. However, these presentations are open to the news media to help foster public discussion of issues important to the general public as well those in business and public life. These speaker programs are the focal point of large dinner meetings, or occasionally luncheons, in the ballroom of a major hotel in Manhattan. The format is geared to serious discussion. There is no entertainment, no presentations, and no extraneous business. The focus is on the Guest of Honor and the speaking program. As defined by the Club's founders, the issues for discussion were ones of "live and practical interest" and speakers were to be of national reputation.[3]


The Club has been host to more than 1,200 speakers and the stature, caliber, and variety of speakers has become a guiding principle. The audiences have heard from current, and past presidents of the United States including Woodrow Wilson, William H. Taft, Herbert Hoover, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Donald Trump. Among the many distinguished foreign leaders to address the Club have been Winston Churchill, Mikhail Gorbachev, Indira Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher, Yitzak Rabin, Corizon Aquino, and Zhu Rongji.[4]

Other Guests of Honor have included central bankers, justices of the Supreme Court, secretaries general of the United Nations, governors and heads of international business enterprises, as well as many key cabinet members, military leaders, ambassadors, and scientists.[4]

Presentations are followed by a questions period in which Club members, selected in advance and seated on the dais, will query the speaker. There are no constraints placed on what speakers may say during their presentation. Questioners are not constrained either.

Club speakers often use the platform to put forth their agendas to members and the media. On December 14, 1962 then-President John F. Kennedy made his famous remarks calling for a sharp cut in tax rates and reform of the tax system in order to grow the economy. In part, he said:

In short, it is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now. The experience of a number of European countries and Japan have borne this out. This country's own experience with tax reduction in 1954 has borne this out. And the reason is that only full employment can balance the budget, and tax reduction can pave the way to that employment. The purpose of cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus.[5]
Honor Roll of Speakers
Over the years, the Club has been host to over 1,000 prominent leaders and figures on the national and international stage.
A partial listing from their honor roll of  speakers follows:[6]
King Abdullah, IIIArthur J. GoldbergDonald Regan
Dean AchesonBarry GoldwaterWalter P. Reuther
Giovanni AgnelliMikhail GorbachevCondoleezza Rice
Corazon C. AquinoJ. Peter GraceElliot L. Richardson
Sheila C. BairPhil GrammEdward V. Rickenbacker
James A. Baker, IIIAlan GreenspanDavid Rockefeller
Menachem BeginDag HammarskjoldJohn D. Rockefeller, III
Lloyd BentsenStephen HarperNelson Rockefeller
Ben S. BernankeW. Averell HarrimanZhu Rongji
Alan S. BlinderWilliam Randolph HearstRobert E. Rubin
Michael R. BloombergFelipe Calderon HinojosaDean Rusk
Roger BloughHerbert C. HooverAnwar Sadat
Clare BootheCharles Evans HughesPaul Sarbanes
Erskine BowlesAnthony M. KennedyMary L. Schapiro
Bill BradleyJohn F. KennedyBrent Scowcroft
Louis D. BrandeisRobert F. KennedyWilliam W. Scranton
William Jennings BryanNikita S. KhrushchevYitzhak Shamir
Zbigniew BrzezinskiJeanne J. KirkpatrickMasaaki Shirakawa
James L. BuckleyHenry KissingerGeorge Shultz
Warren E. BurgerEdward I. KochAlan Simpson[disambiguation needed]
George H.W. BushChristine LagardeAlfred P. Sloan, Jr.
George W. BushFiorello H. LaGuardiaJohn W. Snow
Nicholas Murray ButlerMelvin LairdJohn W. Snyder
Michel CamdessusArthur LevittGene B. Sperling
Fernando Henrique CardosoWalter LippmanHerbert Stein
Andrew CarnegieHenry R. LuceGeorge M. Steinbrenner
Robert J. CarrJohn MajorRobert S. Strauss
Jimmy CarterPaul MartinLawrence H. Summers
Stephen CaseWilliam McChesney Martin, Jr.William H. Taft
William J. CaseyWilliam G. McAdooJohn A. Thain
Richard B. CheneyJohn McCainU Thant
Jacques ChiracWilliam J. McDonoughMargaret Thatcher
Jean ChretienRobert S. McNamaraHans Tietmeyer
Winston ChurchillAnastas MikoyanJean-Claude Trichet
Mark ClarkG. William MillerJuan T. Trippe
Lucius D. ClayFrancois MitterrandPierre Elliott Trudeau
William ColbyWalter MondaleC. H. Tung
John B. ConnallyHenry MorgenthauStansfield Turner
Francesco CossignaDaniel Patrick MoynihanPeter V. Uberroth
Christopher CoxRobert S. Mueller, IIIPaul A. Volcker
Mario CuomoBrian MulroneyCaspar Weinberger
Carlos Salinas de GortariEdmund S. MuskieMary Jo White
Douglas DillonRichard B. MyersChristine Todd Whitman
Elizabeth DoleB.K. NehruWendell L. Willkie
Robert J. DoleRichard NixonHarold Wilson
William H. DonaldsonPaul H. O'NeillWoodrow Wilson
Alec Douglas-HomeThomas P. "Tip" O'Neill, Jr.James D. Wolfensohn
William C. DudleyMichael OxleyJanet L. Yellen
Willem F. DuisenbergGeorge A. PapandreouLee Kuan Yew
John Foster DullesGeorge PatakiErnesto Zedillo
Dwight D. EisenhowerHenry M. Paulson, Jr.
Ludwig ErhardPeter G. Peterson
Martin S. FeldsteinHarvey L. Pitt
Gerald R. FordKarl Otto Pohl
Henry H. FowlerRomano Prodi
Stuart FraserDan Quayle
J.W. FullbrightYitzhak Rabin
Indira GandhiCharles B. Rangel
Timothy F. GeithnerSam Rayburn
Newt GingrichRonald Reagan
Rudolph Giuliani


The Chairman of the Board is the chief executive officer of the Club and presides at meetings of the Club and the Board, and has general charge of the business and affairs of the Club. The first chairman was A. Barton Hepburn, who served from 1907 to 1909. Hepburn was U.S. Comptroller of the Currency from 1892 to 1893 and later president of the Chase National Bank. Other notable chairmen included: Wendell L. Willkie (1938 to 1940), the Republican Party nominee for president in 1940; radio and television pioneer David Sarnoff (1940-1942); James P. Warburg (1934 to 1936), financial advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt; Rand V. Araskog (1987 to 1990), former CEO of ITT Corp.; Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. (1979 to 1980), former CEO and President of Pfizer, Inc. for whom the Duke University engineering school is named and Barbara H. Franklin (2003-2007), one of the first women graduates of Harvard Business School. She also served as s United States Secretary of Commerce under President George H.W. Bush. William C. Dudley, President & Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, served as chair from 2010-2016. The current Chair is Terry J. Lundgren, President and Chairman of Macys, Inc.[7]


The president is the chief operating officer of the Club. The Club has had only six presidents since its founding over a century ago. They were: Robert Erskine Ely; Edwin A. Locke, Jr.; Raymond K. Price, Jr.;[8] Paul W. Bateman;[9] Jan Hopkins, and the current President, Barbara M. Van Allen.[10]

Barbara Van Allen is the current President of the Economic Club of New York. Immediately prior to becoming President, she ran her own boutique consulting firm specializing in strategic communications, stakeholder outreach and government affairs. Over the course of her career, she served in senior leadership roles with award-winning results in the non-profit, trade association, corporate and government sectors based in New York, NY, Washington, DC and San Francisco, CA.

While working in Washington, DC she served as senior director of communications and stakeholder relations for an association representing the audit profession (CAQ); as senior vice president of marketing and communications for the Mortgage Bankers Association, and as chief marketing officer for SourceAmerica.

Earlier in her career she served in senior management positions in New York with ITT Corporation and Cushman & Wakefield. She began her career on Capitol Hill where she rose to become senior legislative adviser to former Rep. Beverly B. Byron of Maryland while attending graduate school at night.

Ms. Van Allen graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She holds an MBA in marketing from New York University and a master's degree in legislative affairs from George Washington University. Ms. Van Allen has served on various nonprofit boards and committees in New York City and Washington, DC and currently serves on the Governing Board of the Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys in Anacostia, Washington, DC. She is a member of the YWCA Academy of Women Achievers and is listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who of American Women. She and her husband Peter C. Van Allen have two children, Caroline K. Van Allen and Peter C. Van Allen Jr.


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