Capping a distinguished public service career that began in the Navy in 1943, John C. Whitehead announced today that he will resign as Chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) at the end of May, after more than four and a half years of spearheading the post 9/11 redevelopment efforts. At the request of Governor George E. Pataki and then Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Mr. Whitehead assumed the Chairmanship and worked to form the Development Corporation in the weeks following 9/11. Chairman Whitehead was instrumental in leading the public processes that led to the selection of the Libeskind Master Site Plan, and in allocating more than $2 billion in redevelopment grant funding which has revitalized Lower Manhattan. Chairman Whitehead will continue to serve as a founding member of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation.
"John Whitehead has repeatedly answered the call to public service and as a city, state and nation we owe him a debt of gratitude,” Governor George E. Pataki said. “He has been an energetic and tireless advocate for the rebuilding and led the LMDC from its very inception. Chairman Whitehead should rightfully be credited with helping to put into place all the necessary elements to drive the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site through to completion.”
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said, "When New York City was experiencing some of the toughest times in its history, John Whitehead stepped up to the challenge and played an integral role in downtown’s resurgence and revitalization. The City is grateful for the wisdom, experience and sensitivity he has provided, and we are committed to honoring his efforts by completing the plans he helped to create.”
“It’s been my pleasure and an honor to serve as Chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, and despite the challenges we’ve faced I am proud of our accomplishments, including forging the Master Site Plan which still holds today,” said John C. Whitehead. “I appreciate the support of the Governor and the Mayor and the hard work and dedication of the LMDC staff, past and present, who have helped me to meet the challenges of the last four and a half years. I wish everyone the best as they continue to move forward and advance the redevelopment efforts.”
In the days following Chairman Whitehead’s founding of the LMDC, he immediately led efforts to create the Family Room and to honor the memories of those who were lost by working on interim memorial projects, such as the Tribute in Light, the Tribute Center and StoryCorps. Chairman Whitehead led efforts to provide residential grants to stabilize and rebuild the housing market in Lower Manhattan and joined the Empire State Development Corporation in establishing a business recovery grant program to help keep and attract new businesses to the area. As a result, Lower Manhattan is today one of the fastest growing residential communities and central business districts in the United States.
During Mr. Whitehead’s tenure as Chairman, the agency held more than 100 public meetings to inform the redevelopment process, including the launch of the international competition to develop a site plan and the worldwide competition to select the World Trade Center memorial design. Chairman Whitehead and the LMDC have worked with Studio Daniel Libeskind to refine the master site plan, preserving the selected plan's vision, while at the same time ensuring that it is achievable, as evidenced during recent negotiations between Silverstein Properties International and the Port Authority.
“We have faced significant challenges, but under the steady leadership of John Whitehead, we have been able to successfully navigate the terrain of the rebuilding, while preserving the Master Site Plan and providing instrumental planning and funding for the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan,” said Stefan Pryor, President of the LMDC. “As we move forward with our mission, the guidance, experience, diplomacy and grace of John Whitehead will be missed. His legacy of integrity and quality in planning and action will allow us to continue along the path he laid out.”
Under Chairman Whitehead’s leadership, the LMDC created a plan for the World Trade Center Site's cultural facilities, and awarded funding to more than 60 Lower Manhattan cultural institutions. He negotiated numerous landmark agreements with City, State, and Federal agencies and private parties. Also under his guidance, the LMDC formulated and negotiated the Environmental Impact Statement for the World Trade Center Memorial and Redevelopment Plan that includes the construction of the Memorial and memorial-related improvements, as well as commercial, retail, museum and cultural facilities, new open space areas, new street configurations, and infrastructure improvements at the World Trade Center Site and adjacent parcels.
Prior to joining the LMDC in 2001, Chairman Whitehead spent 38 years at Goldman Sachs & Co., culminating in his being named Chairman in 1976. He has served on the board of numerous companies, and as a Director of the New York Stock Exchange, and Chairman of the Securities Industry Association.
In April 1985, President Ronald Reagan appointed Chairman Whitehead Deputy Secretary of State under George Shultz. He served in the State Department until January, 1989. During this period, he was Acting Secretary of State when Mr. Shultz was away from Washington and took a special interest in relations with Eastern Europe, the United Nations, and with various administrative reforms in the State Department. Mr. Whitehead was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Reagan.
Chairman Whitehead has been active in a number of educational, civic and charitable organizations. He is a former Chairman of the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the United Nations Association, the International Rescue Committee, International House, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Harvard Board of Overseers, Haverford College, and the Asia Society. He is presently Chairman of the Goldman Sachs Foundation and is also now Co-Chairman of the Greater New York Councils of the Boy Scouts, a Director of the Nature Conservancy, the East-West Institute, the Eisenhower Exchange Fellowships and a former Director of Rockefeller University, Lincoln Center Theater, the J. Paul Getty Trust, Outward Bound, and the National Humanities Center. In Washington, Mr. Whitehead is Chairman Emeritus of the Brookings Institution and the Trustees Council of the National Gallery of Art
Chairman Whitehead will serve until the end of May.