Prominent finance expert Gary Gensler is the current Chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Gensler is a veteran of both public service and the private sector, and has been a proponent of reform and transparency in financial markets. He is perhaps best known for his influential tenure as chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) during the Obama administration, from 2009 to 2014. Before joining the CFTC, Gensler previously served in several key roles at the state and federal levels, including the Under Secretary of the Treasury for Domestic Finance from 1999–2001. Prior to his service in the government, Gensler spent nearly two decades at Goldman Sachs, where he was a partner and co-head of finance. In recognition for his service, he was awarded the Alexander Hamilton Award, the U.S. Treasury’s highest honor. He was also the recipient of the 2014 Frankel Fiduciary Prize. His most recent position before becoming SEC chair was professor of the Practice of Global Economics and Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Gensler won the MIT Sloan Outstanding Teacher Award, based upon student nominations, for the 2018-19 academic year.
To better prepare himself for a career in business, Gensler enrolled in the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1975. On campus, he got involved in student politics. Notably, he was appointed the student representative on the University Budget Committee. In addition, Gensler also joined the school's crew team as a coxswain, dropping his weight to 112 pounds to keep the boat at its proper density. During his senior year, Gensler participated in a four-day sit-in of College Hall, protesting the University’s cutting of the varsity hockey program. After three years at Wharton, Gensler received his Bachelor of Arts degree in economics, graduating summa cum laude. He immediately enrolled in Wharton's graduate program, earning a Master of Business Administration degree in 1979.
Since graduating, Gensler has maintained ties to the Wharton community. In 2013, during his tenure as CFTC Chairman, Gensler returned to his alma mater to take part in the Wharton Leadership Lecture Series, a prestigious event that has featured many of the world’s most influential leaders and policy makers. Gensler used the opportunity to provide advice to Wharton students regarding leadership and experience. After encouraging his audience to pursue their passions and seize opportunities, Gensler spoke directly to the profound influence his alma mater has had on his life. Wharton, he said, "equipped me with many of the tools I needed both in the private sector and in public service. It was a remarkable experience that helped prepare me for each of my roles in business and government."