From the Lower East Side to Africa, Stephen and Pilar Crespi Robert are focusing their philanthropy on helping the poor. It is a full-time effort for the couple and the mission of their Source of Hope Foundation.
Robert has been Brown University’s chancellor since 1998. As chancellor, he has been the Corporation’s senior officer and has presided over the Board of Trustees. After nine years of service, he will step down on June 30, 2007, to be succeeded by Thomas J. Tisch.
Q: Thank you for joining us today, Mr. Robert. What do you point to as the main reason our economy’s recovery is taking so long?
Stephen Robert: Simply put, a depression of this magnitude simply cannot be repaired overnight. Our leaders continue to pose solutions that aim to repair the damage in two or three years. As with the Great Depression, working our way out of this situation will take many years.
Q: How important is an understanding of the reason for the decline itself?
SR: We can’t fix what we don’t understand. In short, our consumer and government debt is both the source of the problem and an impediment to a solution. Household debt as a percentage of disposable income rose from 65 percent in the 80s to 130 percent in 2006, as consumers eschewed savings in favor of easily attainable credit lines. With the credit collapse, millions had to struggle to pay off their debt. As Americans prioritize debt repayment over consumer spending, America’s GDP will continue to lag.
Government debt is unsustainable, having risen to 100 percent of the nation’s GDP. Much of this debt is due to unfunded Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security payments. With no financial reserves, the government is unable to utilize traditional fixes, such as economic stimulus packages, without incurring further debt.
Q: In your view, what can be done to speed the recovery?
SR: We need to boost consumer confidence through economic stability. Balancing the budget by reducing health care costs should take priority. Another tactic is to forego short-term stimulus packages like Cash for Clunkers and build future programs around long-term investments.
STAMFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Dec. 10, 2003–Xerox Corporation’s (NYSE:XRX) board of directors today elected Stephen Robert to the board. The board also declared quarterly dividends for the company’s Series B and Series C preferred stock.
Robert, 63, is the chancellor of Brown University, chairman of Robert Capital Management, LLC, and former chairman and chief executive officer of Oppenheimer Group, Inc. His election to the board is effective January 1, 2004.
“Stephen Robert is a respected and successful leader who brings to Xerox vast knowledge of global financial operations,” said Anne M. Mulcahy, Xerox chairman and chief executive officer. “His financial acumen will serve Xerox and its shareholders well as we continue to strengthen our position as a leading technology company.”
Robert joined Oppenheimer in 1968 as a portfolio manager of the Oppenheimer Fund. He became a partner in 1970 and a member of the executive committee and director of research in 1977. In 1979, Robert became president and, in 1983, assumed the role of chairman and CEO. He retired from Oppenheimer in 1998 and became chancellor of Brown University that year.
A graduate of Brown University where he earned a bachelor of arts degree, Robert is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, director of the New York Philharmonic, former director of the Twin Towers Fund, director of the Educational Broadcasting Corporation, and a member of the Blackstone Alternative Asset Management advisory board.
With Robert’s election, Xerox’s ten-member board is now 80 percent independent, comprised of eight independent directors in addition to only one employee director, Anne Mulcahy, and one Xerox-affiliated director, Yotaro Kobayashi, chairman, Fuji Xerox Co., Ltd.
In other board actions today, a dividend of $1.5625 was declared on the Series B convertible preferred stock issued in connection with the Xerox employee stock ownership program, and will be payable Jan. 1, 2004, to shareholders of record on Dec. 12, 2003. The board also declared a dividend of $1.5625 per share on the 6.25% Series C mandatory convertible preferred stock issued last June. This dividend will be payable Jan. 1, 2004, to shareholders of record Dec. 16, 2003.
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