News Release

Brookings Announces New Trustees

Washington, D.C. — The Board of Trustees at the Brookings Institution has elected eight new members, Brookings President Strobe Talbott announced today. Paul M. Achleitner of Deutsche Bank AG; Alfonso Fanjul of Fanjul Corp. and Florida Crystals Corp.; Pete Higgins of Second Avenue Partners; Steven Rattner of Willett Advisors LLC and contributing writer for the op-ed page of The New York Times; Wilbur Ross of WL Ross & Co. LLC; Amy W. Schulman of Pfizer, Inc.; Beatrice Welters of the AnBryce Foundation; and Lei Zhang of Hillhouse Capital Management Ltd were approved by the Board at its June meeting.  Rattner and Welters return to the Board following public service.

“It is an honor and privilege to welcome these eight accomplished American and international leaders to the board,” said John L. Thornton, the chairman of the board. “These new trustees bring a wealth of experience and insight to Brookings, and we look forward to working with them.”

“With their diverse backgrounds and expertise, this distinguished group will provide invaluable guidance and leadership in setting Brookings’s research agenda,” said Talbott.


Paul M. Achleitner is Non-Executive Chairman of Deutsche Bank AG

Born 1956 in Linz, Austria, Paul Achleitner was educated at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland (HSG) and the Harvard Business School (ISP). He holds a Ph.D. from HSG and a honorary professorship from WHU, Koblenz. After four years at Bain & Co. in Boston he joined Goldman Sachs in 1988 where he served in New York, London and Frankfurt in various capacities, since 1994 as a partner of the firm. Between 2000 and 2012 Paul Achleitner was CFO of Allianz in Munich.

Besides chairing the supervisory board of Deutsche Bank, Achleitner serves on the boards of Bayer and Daimler, as well as shareholders committee of Henkel. He chairs the German Government Commission of Capital Markets Experts and is a member of the International Advisory Board of Allianz, the Advisory Council of the Munich Security Conference, and the European Advisory Board of the Harvard Business School. Since 2013, he has also held the position of Co-Chairman of the Hong Kong/Europe Business Council.

Paul Achleitner is married to Professor Ann-Kristin Achleitner and they have three sons.


Alfonso Fanjul is chairman of the Board and chief executive officer of Fanjul Corp. and Florida Crystals Corporation.

Florida Crystals owns 155,000 acres of land in Palm Beach County, two sugar mills, a sugar refinery, a rice mill and a packaging and distribution center.  The company produces renewable energy in its biomass power plant, the largest in North America. Florida Crystals, through its subsidiary American Sugar Refining, the world’s largest sugar refiner, produces six million tons of sugar across North America and in Europe, which is marketed through the Domino®, C&H®, Florida Crystals®, Redpath®, Tate & Lyle®, Sidul® and Sores® brands.  Fanjul founded what is now Fanjul Corp. in South Florida in 1960.  

Fanjul also serves as chairman, CEO and president of Central Romana Corporation, which is engaged in sugar production, real estate and resort hotel operations, including Casa de Campo, in the Dominican Republic.  He is a co-founder of Mission International Rescue Charities in the Dominican Republic, a member of The Florida Council of 100, a trustee emeritus of the University of Miami, a former director of Southeast Bank (formerly the largest bank in Florida), a former director of Pennzoil Co. and Florida Power & Light Co., and a member of the Raymond Kravis Center for the Performing Arts.  Fanjul is a graduate of Fordham University, where he received an honorary doctorate degree in May 2010.


Pete Higgins is a founding partner of Second Avenue Partners, one of Seattle’s most experienced teams providing management, strategy and capital to early-stage companies.

Prior to founding Second Avenue Partners, Higgins spent 16 years at Microsoft Corporation.  Higgins was a member of the Office of the President, reporting to CEO Bill Gates. He was group vice president of the Interactive Media Group at Microsoft from 1996 to 1998.  From 1995 to 1996, he was group vice president of Applications and Content, responsible for Microsoft Office consumer and online applications, desktop finance, hardware and Microsoft Research. From 1992 to 1995, he was senior vice president of the Desktop Applications division, where he was responsible for developing, marketing and localizing Microsoft Office.

Higgins currently serves on the board of directors of Modumetal Corp, Jenu Corp, SEEQ Corp, IE Technologies, and Market Leader (OTC: LEDR).  

Higgins also serves on the advisory boards for the Woods Institute for the Environment and Precourt Institute for Energy, and is a past member of the Board of Trustees for Stanford University.  He holds an MBA (’83) and an undergraduate degree in economics (’80) and history from Stanford University.


Steven Rattner is chairman of Willett Advisors LLC, the investment arm for New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s personal and philanthropic assets. In addition, he is a contributing writer for the op-ed page of The New York Times and the economic analyst for MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

Previously, Rattner left the Brookings board to serve as counselor to the secretary of the Treasury and led the Obama administration’s successful effort to restructure the automobile industry, which he chronicled in his book, Overhaul: An Insider’s Account of the Obama Administration’s Emergency Rescue of the Auto Industry.

Until February 2009, Rattner was managing principal of Quadrangle Group LLC, a private investment firm that under his leadership had more than $6 billion of assets under management. Before forming Quadrangle in 2000, Rattner was with Lazard Frères & Co., where he served as deputy chairman and deputy chief executive officer.  Rattner joined Lazard Frères in 1989 as a general partner from Morgan Stanley, where he was a managing director. Before beginning his investment banking career in 1982 with Lehman Brothers, Rattner was employed by The New York Times for nearly nine years, principally as an economic correspondent in New York, Washington and London. 

Rattner has served as a board member or trustee of a number of public and philanthropic organizations including the Educational Broadcasting Corporation (Chairman), Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brown University (Fellow), Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City (Chairman), and the New America Foundation.  He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. 

Rattner graduated in 1974 from Brown University with honors in economics and was awarded the Harvey Baker Fellowship.  He is married to Maureen White, who is a State Department official, and they have four children.


Wilbur Ross, CEO of WL Ross & Co. LLC, may be one of the best known private equity investors in the U.S.  His private equity funds bought Bethlehem Steel and several other bankrupt producers and revitalized them into the largest U.S. producer before merging them into Mittal Steel for $4.5 billion. 

Ross remains a director of what is now ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel company.  He also created and chairs International Textile Group, the most global American company in that industry; and International Auto Components Group, a $4.5 billion producer of instrument panels and other interior components, operating in 17 countries, and recently sold Homeward Residential, a leading originator and servicer of subprime mortgages.  He had chaired International Coal Group which was sold to Arch Coal for $3.4 billion.  He is a member of the Boards of Air Lease Corp., Assured Guaranty and BankUnited, all NYSE-listed, of PLASCAR listed in Brazil, and Sun Bancorp which is traded over the counter.  He recently became chairman of Diamond S Shipping which has committed to a 38 vessel tanker fleet, and is a director of Navigator which has 24 LPG tankers. Most recently WL Ross has acquired substantial interests in five U.S. banks and in Bank of Ireland and England’s Virgin Money.  Ross is also a Board member of Bank of Ireland and Talmer Bancorp.

Ross was executive managing director of Rothschild Inc. for 24 years before acquiring that firm’s private equity partnerships in 2000.  He is a Board member of Yale University School of Management, The Dean’s Advisory Board of Harvard Business School, Partnership for New York City, Palm Beach Civic Association, Business Roundtable, The Blenheim American Foundation, Palm Beach Preservation Foundation and the Council of the U.S./India Business Council.  He is chairman of the Japan Society and a trustee of the Town of Palm Beach Retirement System.  President Kim Dae Jung awarded him a medal for his assistance in Korea’s financial crisis, President Clinton appointed him to the Board of the U.S.-Russia Investment Fund and he served as privatization advisor to New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Ross formerly served as chairman of the Smithsonian Institution National Board.  Bloomberg Markets magazine designated him one of the 50 most influential people in Global Finance. Ross is a graduate of Yale University and of Harvard Business School (with distinction).  He is the only person elected both to the Private Equity Hall of Fame and the Turnaround Management Association Hall of Fame. In 2011, Bloomberg BusinessWeek designated him one of the 50 Most Important Financiers in the World.


Amy W. Schulman is Executive Vice President and General Counsel; and Business Unit Lead, Consumer Healthcare at Pfizer Inc. She also is executive sponsor of the company’s Global Women’s Council, which has helped increase the number of women in senior-level jobs throughout the company.

Since 2008 Schulman has led the Pfizer Legal Division, which handles some of the most complex, challenging legal matters within a highly regulated industry. In early 2009 she spearheaded the Pfizer Legal Alliance, an innovative approach to engaging outside counsel. She is recognized as a leading voice for transforming the billable-hour model and for redefining the value of legal services. Additionally, Schulman leads Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, a $4 billion business that operates in more than 90 countries. She assumed this role in 2012 after serving as President and General Manager of Pfizer Nutrition, a leading global provider of infant formulas and other nutritional products, which she led to increased profitability and above-market performance before its sale to Nestlé for $11.85 billion.

The National Law Journal named Schulman one of “The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America” in 2013. In 2012 the American Bar Association honored her with the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement award, and she was one of 10 “leading lights” featured in The Financial Times’ 2011 U.S. Innovative Lawyers report. She also was listed on Forbes’ 2009 list of “The World’s Most Powerful Women.”

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Wesleyan University, Schulman earned her J.D. from Yale Law School. She serves on the Board of Directors for Wesleyan University.


Beatrice Welters is returning to the Brookings board following her service as U.S. ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago from March 2010 – November 2012.  She is the founder and co-chairperson of the AnBryce Foundation, which provides long-term academic and leadership enrichment programs for underserved youth. 


Welters established the foundation in 1995. From 1977 to 1991, she worked at IBM, holding several positions, including systems engineer.  She was also a past presidential appointee to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, serving on its Executive Committee. She also served on the Library of Congress Madison Council and as a trustee for several organizations, including the Aspen Institute, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Washington Jesuit Academy, and the Maret School.

Welters is a graduate of Ulster County Community College and Manhattanville College, and received a M.A. from the City University of New York. She also received an Honorary Doctorate from Livingstone College in Salisbury, North Carolina in 2009. She was a recipient of the 2008 Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service.


Lei Zhang is the founder, chairman and CEO of Hillhouse Capital Management, Ltd. Hillhouse manages over nine billion dollars for leading endowments, foundations, sovereign funds, and family offices and maintains one of the best long-term performance track records in Asia. Hillhouse takes a long-term fundamental research approach and invests in both public and private opportunities across a variety of sectors.

Prior to founding Hillhouse in June 2005, Zhang served as the chief representative to China for the New York Stock Exchange and established the NYSE’s Hong Kong and Beijing offices. Prior to that, Zhang was an investment analyst for a global emerging markets fund covering South Africa, Southeast Asia and China. He also worked with the Yale Endowment while a student at Yale.

Zhang earned an MBA and M.A. in International Relations from Yale University and a B.A. in Economics from Renmin University of China, where he is the vice chairman and trustee of the Board. In addition, he serves on the University Council at Yale University, the advisory board of the Yale School of Management, the Jackson Institute Council, and is a member of the President’s International Advisory Council.

Zhang is a board member of the Financing & Capital Council of the World Economic Forum, a board member of the China Southern Fund Management Company, and a member of the Board of Directors of the CFA Society of Beijing. He is on the board of several of Asia’s leading companies, including 360buy, China’s largest Internet retailer; Qunar, China’s largest online travel vertical; and Global Mediacom, Indonesia’s largest media / TV / pay TV conglomerate.

Zhang devotes substantial time to education issues. He is a board member of BN Vocational School, China’s largest non‐profit organization dedicated to the education of underprivileged children, and a founding board member of the United World College (UWC) of Southeast Asia Foundation. In addition, he established the Gaoli Academy at Renmin University with the purpose of expanding the role of liberal arts education in Chinese universities.

About Brookings

The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit organization devoted to independent research and policy solutions. Its mission is to conduct high-quality, independent research and, based on that research, to provide innovative, practical recommendations for policymakers and the public.