The People Behind the World’s Leaders

We are all familiar with the world’s leaders, but they can hardly be expected to make every important financial and economic decision.

Secretaries and advisers form a crucial part of any government administration, so today we are going to look at the people behind some of the world’s most famous leaders to gain a clearer understanding of who really pulls the strings.

The United States’ Jack Lew

Jacob Joseph “Jack” Lew is a democrat who was born in New York City and who has been serving as the United States Secretary of the Treasury since 2013, the 76th individual to hold this title.

Lew is a government administrator and attorney, and has previous served as Director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Clinton and Obama Administrations.

Lew has held other positions such as Budget Director and Chief of Staff, before being appointed by President Obama as Secretary of the Treasury on January 10, 2013.

The media drew attention to Lew’s amusingly-shaped signature, which looks like a series of loops, as his signature was due to appear on all American paper currency during his time as Secretary of the Treasury.

In light of this media attention, and Obama joking that he might rescind Lew’s nomination for the position, Lew decided on a more standard form of his signature that would appear on currency.

A recent highlight of Lew’s career was in May 2014 when he was awarded with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Georgetown University.

Russia’s Inner Circle

Russian president Vladimir Putin has entrusted a small group of multibillionaires with control over important positions within the government and some of Russia’s biggest companies.

Brother’s Arkady and Borsin Rotenberg boast a net worth of more than $2 billion, controlling the Stroygazmontazh Corporation (SGM group).

SGM group is Russia’s biggest construction company for electrical power supply lines and gas pipelines, and in 2014 the European Union and United States imposed sanctions on SGM in light of the Ukranian crisis.

65-year-old Nikolai Shamalov was a Siemens representative and is an old friend of who brokered the purchase of Putin’s Black Sea mansion, which is rumored to have been paid for with the profit made from selling medical supplies intended to upgrade hospitals in Russia.

Alexey Miller, 53, who has a PhD in economics, served alongside Putin at the St Petersburg city council, and currently serves as chief executive for Gazprom, a major oil Russian company.

Vladimir Yakunin is a 67-year-old former diplomat from the Soviet era who currently sits in charge of the Russian railway system. Yakunin reportedly earns a $15 million salary in his current role.

Other members of Putin’s inner circle include Bank Rossiya majority shareholder Yuri Kovalchuk, presidential aid Andrei Fursenko, and Gennady Timchenko, a business tycoon estimated to be worth $15.8 billion.

The United Kingdom’s Danny Alexander

Sir Daniel Grian Alexander was the 43-year-old Chief Secretary to the Treasury for the United Kingdom up until May 2015.

Alexander also served Member of Parliament for the Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey constituency from 2005 until he was defeated in the May 2015 general election by the Scottish National Party’s Drew Hendry.

As Chief Secretary to the Treasury for the coalition government, Alexander was essentially placed second in command to chancellor George Osborne.

This placed Alexander squarely in charge of the British Government’s deficit reduction plan.

Just two days into this position, the Daily Telegraph newspaper featured Alexander on its front page reporting that he had avoided paying capital gains tax on the 2007 sale of a property by exploiting what was referred to as a “morally dubious” legal loophole.

Other controversy surrounding Sir Daniel Grian Alexander includes his reported involvement in meetings with bankers to avoid the proposals laid out in the Vickers Report designed to reduce risks in the finance sector.

Germany’s Wolfgang Schäuble

Wolfgang Schäuble is Germany’s 73-year-old Federal Minister of Finance, and has held this position since he assumed office on October 28, 2009.

Schäuble is the longest serving member of the Parliament in the history of the German Federal Republic, and in 2014 the Wall Street Journal referred to him as “Germany’s second most powerful person after Chancellor Angela Merkel.”

As the Minister of Finance, Schäuble has always been a large advocate of integration with the European Union.

Nevertheless, in 2012 he did refuse to give Greece more time to make extra spending cuts in order to control its deficits after being requested to do so by chairwoman of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde. This action led to accusations by Greek President Karolos Papoulias that Schäuble had insulted the indebted country.

Schäuble has also advocated austerity throughout the European financial crisis, approving a 2014 national budget of 299 billion Euros so that Germany would not take on any new debt.

In fact, this was the first time Germany would not take on new debt since 1969, leading to Schäuble being known as the “personification of fiscal discipline” in the New York Times.

Schäuble has been heavily criticised by civil rights activists due to some of his policies in the field of counter-terrorism.

Measures including the increased use of biometric data have placed Schäuble in the firing line of a group of hackers known as Chaos Computer club, which published one of Schäuble’s fingerprints in the March 2008 edition of its magazine Datenschleuder.

Schäuble was also criticized for how he acted during the Grexit earlier this year.

Yanis Varoufakis stated that Schäuble wanted to force Greece out of the Eurozone prior to the left-wing Syriza government being elected, an allegation that was later backed up by Tim Geithner, US Treasury Secretary. His actions were likened to that of a coup.

So as we can see, the political figureheads that are our world leaders are certainly reliant on more than just their own actions and decisions for the success of their nations.

Political and economic stability is dependent upon a number of individuals cooperating within governments.

The post The People Behind the World’s Leaders appeared first on Forex.Info.

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