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Walter Wriston (August 3, 1919 – January 19, 2005) was a banker and former chairman of Citicorp. As chief executive of Citibank / Citicorp (later Citigroup) from 1967-1984, Wriston was widely regarded as the single most influential commercial banker of his time.
Walter Bigelow Wriston was born in Middletown, Connecticut to Ruth Bigelow Wriston, a chemistry teacher, and Henry Merritt Wriston, a history professor at Wesleyan University who was later president of Lawrence College and Brown University.
Reared as a traditional Methodist in Appleton, Wisconsin, Wriston was not allowed to listen to the radio or go to the movie theater on Sundays.
He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wesleyan University in 1941 where he was a member of the Eclectic Society and received the "Parker Prize" (awarded to the Wesleyan sophomore or junior who excels in public speaking). He also received a Master's Degree from Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 1942.
After graduate school, Wriston became a junior Foreign Service officer at the State Department in which position he helped negotiate the exchange of Japanese interned in the United States for Americans held prisoner in Japan. Drafted into the U.S. Army in 1942, he served in the U.S. Army for four years, being with the Signal Corps on Cebu in the Philippines during his service.
In 1942, Walter Wriston married his first wife, Barbara Brengle Wriston, with whom he had one daughter. Two years after Barbara’s death in 1966, he married lawyer and businesswoman Kathryn Dineen.
He kept himself trim, playing tennis regularly and acting as a carpenter, electrician, plumber, backhoe operator, front-end loader operator and chain-saw-wielding tree farmer on his Connecticut retreat. During the July 1977 New York City blackout, he walked down 23 flights from his high-rise apartment, hiked to corporate headquarters, then climbed 15 flights up to his office.
Wriston was an Eagle Scout and recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award.
Wriston died in January 2005, aged 85. Wriston's papers, including the text of hundreds of speeches and articles spanning his lengthy career, are at Tufts University's Digital Collections and Archives.
From 1982 to 1989, Wriston was chairman of President Ronald Reagan's Economic Policy Advisory Board, and in June 2004 awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civil honor, by President George W. Bush.
Wriston admitted he was twice offered the job of Secretary of the Treasury, in the administrations of Presidents Nixon and Ford. He turned down the offers, but said it was not because of the public scrutiny he was sure to face. "I've been living in Macy's window for 20 years," he said. One report is that Wriston declined the offers because these were not made to him personally by the-then President. Wriston also would have had to take a substantial pay cut had he accepted the government position.
In 1987, the Manhattan Institute of Policy Research initiated a lecture series  in honor of Mr. Wriston, and in 2004, the Idea Channel organized a seven-part series of interviews with him as well.
• Capital goes where it's welcome and stays where it's well treated. (Discovery)--Walter B. Wriston
• Information about money has become almost as important as money itself
• Countries don't go bust
• The Twilight of Sovereignty (1992)
• Risk and Other Four-Letter Words (1986)
• Bits, Bytes and Balance Sheets (2007)
1. "Wriston, Walter B.". Paid Notices: Deaths. The New York Times. 2005-01-25. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.h ... A9639C8B63. Retrieved on 2006-09-08.
2. Washington Post Obituary
3. Forbes obituary