IN MEMORIAM: John C. Whitehead, D.D. '03


The Hon. John C. Whitehead (D.D. 2003), a Wall Street banker who led the international expansion of Goldman, Sachs & Co. in the 1970s and 1980s, died on February 7, 2015 after a battle with cancer. Whitehead was also founding chairman of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. He was a devoted Episcopalian and friend of the Church who served on the Advisory Board of the Church Center Development Office. Raised in Montclair, New Jersey, Whitehead graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Haverford College in 1943, where he worked on the Board of Managers for more than 30 years and served as its chairman for 10 years. After his graduation, Mr. Whitehead served in the U.S. Navy where he was involved in the first wave of the invasion of Normandy, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. He earned an MBA from Harvard University, graduating with distinction in 1947. Whitehead then joined Goldman Sachs, where he was named partner in 1956. In 1976, he became senior partner and co-chairman and helped take the company global.

Whitehead served on the board of numerous companies and as director of the New York Stock exchange, as well as chairman of the Securities Industry Association. He was appointed U.S. Deputy Secretary of State under George Schultz. For his service to his country he was awarded The Presidential Citizens Medal by President Ronald Reagan.

After the 9/11 attacks, then-Governor George Pataki asked Mr. Whitehead to lead the board of the Manhattan Lower Development Corporation. A news release from the September 11 Memorial stated: “In the wake of 9/11, amidst devastation and loss, our great city and nation needed a true leader to help guide the recovery and revitalization of lower Manhattan.” The Memorial Center declared that the lights shine up through the World Trade Center tridents until Mr. Whitehead’s funeral.

Mr. Whitehead is survived by his wife, Cynthia Matthews Whitehead, three children from a previous marriage, seven stepchildren including New Canaan resident Kim Matthews, and eighteen step-grandchildren including Ms. Matthews’ children, William, Henry and Anne Greer.