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Jean-Francois Rischard is an economist. He was the Vice President of World Bank from 1998 to 2005. Born in Luxembourg in 1948, Rischard holds doctoral degrees in law and economics[…]

Rischard talks about his work in the public and private sectors.

Jean-Francois Rischard: I first spent 10 years at the World Bank, which is the job I wanted to do. And I did various jobs in large, industrial projects which was the most businesslike part of the World Bank, and then ended up in the treasury function – meaning in the financial function – of the Bank running the Bank as a bank. And in that capacity I did many things of the type you also do on Wall Street. And so at some point two or three of us left, and we went to the then ________ Investment Bank, which was called Drexel, Burnham, Lambert at the time. And we had a great time. It was a great firm. We were given a lot of freedom, and it was a very different way of operating, even than the other investment banks of the time. And my job had me travel to Europe every Monday and come back every Friday. My office was in Europe but I was still living in Washington. So I did this for three years, and my job was to set up baby investment banks in Italy, in Switzerland, in France, in Spain and watch over the U.K. operation and so forth. And after three years of doing this, one day my three year old asked me after I stayed longer than usual – meaning I stayed a long weekend of three days instead of two days – he asked me, “Why are you staying so long at my house?” So I realized I had overdone it. And at that point I was offered to run the trading room of the World Bank, which was a very attractive position. It was a fantastic trading operation inside the World Bank managing some $30 billion and very actively trading the bond markets of the world. And so I came back almost by accident – partly the pressure of my family, and partly this job offer coming back from the World Bank that I swore I had quit forever. And being there in the trading room for two or three years – three years actually, which I loved – the President of that time was called Lou Preston – he was the former CEO of JP Morgan – asked me to build up a private sector development vice presidency. And that is something I did with great interest. It was a fascinating thing to start a new operation within the World Bank. And so it kept me there until a year ago. And so I had a second career in the World Bank quite unexpectedly because I hadn’t planned it that way.

Recorded on: 7/2/07