Lewis Thompson Preston

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Person.png Lewis Thompson Preston   GeniRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(financier, spook?)
Lewis Thompson Preston.jpg
BornAugust 5, 1926
New York, USA
DiedMay 4, 1995 (Age 68)
Washington DC, USA
Cause of death
Alma materHarvard
Parents • Lewis Thompson Preston Sr.
• Priscilla Baldwin
ChildrenLewis Thompson Preston III
Spouse • Nancy Upham Harris
• Gladys Pulitzer Preston
Financier appointed by his old friend George H. W. Bush to the President of the World Bank.

Employment.png President of the World Bank

In office
September 1, 1991 - February 1, 1995
Appointed byGeorge H. W. Bush
Preceded byBarber ConableBarber Conable
Succeeded byJames Wolfensohn
Old buddy of Poppy Bush

Employment.png C.E.O. of J.P. Morgan

In office
1980 - 31 December, 1989
Succeeded byDennis Weatherstone
He stayed on as chairman of the board.

Employment.png Banker

In office
1966 - 1968
EmployerMorgan Guaranty Trust Company
Preceded byLewis Thompson Preston
London. Successful in the Eurobond market.

Employment.png Banker

In office
1959 - 1966
EmployerMorgan Guaranty Trust Company
Preceded byLewis Thompson Preston
Succeeded byLewis Thompson Preston
New York??

Employment.png Banker

In office
1951 - 1959
EmployerJ. P. Morgan & Co.
Succeeded byLewis Thompson Preston


In office
September 1944 - August 1946
EmployerU.S. Marine Corps
LocationPacific Ocean?
He rose to the rank of sergeant.

Lewis Thompson Preston was a financier was appointed by his old friend[1][2] George H. W. Bush to the President of the World Bank. As of October 2018, he had a spookily short page on Wikipedia - only 4 sentences.[3]


One assessment of him described him as "reticent" and "taciturn"[1], another declared that he was a "private and reticent man [who] disliked large formal gatherings."[4] He was a lifelong supporter of the Republican Party.

Family background

Lewis Thompson Preston was born into a rich family that was reported on by local newspapers of the late 19th/early 20th century. His great grandfather was Jerome Preston, businessman, investor in the oil business and partner with a member of the Harriman family. "A Preston grandfather[Who?] had been a Confederate officer who later became a partner in John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company. Preston's father was a World War I flier and later a well-known hunter." Preston spent most his youth in Paris.[5]

The World Bank website suggests that in 1948 he was the Captain of the US Olympic Hockey team, and several obituaries mention this, but at least one other source does not name him as a player.[4][6]

US Marine

Preston reportedly became a US Marine in September 1944 and fought in the Pacific during World War II with the 6th Marine Division on Okinawa and with the 1st Marine Division in the occupation of China. He left the marines in August 1946 as a sergeant.[7]


He attended Harvard where he graduated with a B.A. in history in 1951, having also played in the varsity hockey team.[8] In 1951 he married Nancy Upham Harris with whom he had two daughters and later divorced.

J. P. Morgan

In 1951?[9] Preston began and began as a trainee at J.P. Morgan, when it was only a mid-size bank.[7]

On April 17, 1959 he married heiress Gladys Pulitzer Preston, granddaughter of Joseph Pulitzer, publisher of The New York World and St. Louis Post Dispatch newspapers and founder of the Pulitzer Prize.[10] They remained married and had four daughters.

London, 1966

In 1966 he went as delegate to London and was successful in the Eurobond market. In 1968 he returned to New York as executive vice president for international affairs, a position he held until 1976[11] which he was named executive vice president of the entity and its principal subsidiary, Morgan Guaranty Trust.[5]


In 1980 he was made chairman and chief executive officer. He stepped down as CEO in 1989, but remained chairman of the executive committee until he left for the World Bank.[4][12] In 1989, the Federal Reserve permitted J.P. Morgan to be the first commercial bank to underwrite a corporate debt offering.[13]

Preston was " the key figure in [Dennis] Weatherstone's rise".[14]

Douglas A. Warner III, J.P. Morgan's chairman, stated that "Lew Preston was the architect of the modern J.P. Morgan and the pre-eminent international banker of his era. He led our firm with penetrating vision, formidable intellect and strength of character." Preston was "heavily involved in crafting Wall Street's solutions to the third world debt crisis and shielding Morgan from as much fallout as possible".[1]

World Bank

"There is a lot of politics behind the choice of Lewis Preston, and the key figure is President George Bush."[15] Preston was appointed President of the World Bank in September 1991 by "old friend" George H. W. Bush, after a surprise resignation announcement in March 1991 by Barber Conable (another "old buddy" of Bush's). Nomi Prins writes that Bush wanted someone who would be "sympathetic to the private bankers' requirements when the general economic atmosphere remained shaky."[1]

Expansion of remit

Preston removed 240 senior positions from the staff shortly after arriving in 1991, and announced a 6% budget cut in 1994.[16]

At the World Bank he declared that "alleviating poverty" would be the Bank's "overarching objective", and said that applications for loans would be judged on a nation's social justice record as well as its economic efficiency. He expanded the role of the bank, beyond that of just making loans, in the direction of organising and implementing projects associated with them.[4]

Deep political connections

Like many senior financiers, he was a member Pilgrims Society[17]. He was both a director and a treasurer of Council on Foreign Relations.[18]

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  1. a b c d All the Presidents' Bankers: The Hidden Alliances that Drive American Power, by Nomi Prins
  2. http://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/business/1991/03/17/preston-facing-big-job-as-head-of-world-bank/e84da1f8-aff6-4508-a091-71cb0b9b9e7b/
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Lewis_Thompson_Preston&oldid=863525214
  4. a b c d http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/EXTABOUTUS/EXTARCHIVES/0,,contentMDK:20505265~pagePK:36726~piPK:437378~theSitePK:29506,00.html
  5. a b http://elpais.com/diario/1995/05/06/agenda/799711206_850215.html
  6. http://www.hockey-reference.com/olympics/teams/USA/1948
  7. a b http://archives.sps.edu/common/text.asp?Img=18913&Keyword=&Headline=&Author=&SearchMode=0
  8. http://www.thecrimson.com/article/1950/3/29/haa-winter-sports-awards-pletters-and/
  9. Some sources are later - up to 1955 (El Pais)
  10. http://www.palmbeachdailynews.com/news/news/gladys-pulitzer-preston-granddaughter-of-the-found/nMDy8/
  11. https://www.munzinger.de/search/portrait/Lewis+T+Preston/0/19996.html
  12. http://www.nytimes.com/1995/05/06/obituaries/lewis-t-preston-68-dies-led-world-bank-into-90-s.html
  13. On July 13, 1989 J.P. Morgan & Co. underwrote an offering of 9.20% notes for Xerox Corporation, the first corporate debt offering underwritten by a commercial bank in the United States since 1933.
  14. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/sir-dennis-weatherstone-son-of-a-london-transport-clerk-who-became-one-of-the-greatest-bankers-of-the-late-20th-century-874722.html
  15. Asian Finance, Volume 17, p.12
  16. http://universalium.academic.ru/253445/Preston%2C_Lewis_Thompson
  17. https://isgp-studies.com/Pilgrims_Society_members_list_AZ
  18. http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sociopolitica/sociopol_globalbanking03.htm