Jacob J. Lew headshot

Jacob J. Lew

Professor of International and Public Affairs

Personal Details

Jack Lew was confirmed by the United States Senate on February 27, 2013 to serve as the 76th Secretary of the Treasury. He served in that position until January 20, 2017. Lew previously served as White House Chief of Staff. Prior to that role, Lew was the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), a position he also held in President Clinton's Cabinet from 1998 to 2001. Before returning to OMB in 2010, Lew first joined the Obama Administration as Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources.

Before joining the State Department, Lew served as managing director and chief operating officer for two different Citigroup business units. Prior to that, he was executive vice president and chief operating officer of New York University, where he was responsible for budget, finance, and operations, and served as a professor of public administration. From 2004 through 2008, Lew served on the Board of Directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service and chaired its Management, Administration, and Governance Committee.

As OMB Director from 1998 to 2001, Lew led the Administration budget team and served as a member of the National Security Council. During his tenure at OMB, the U.S. budget operated at a surplus for three consecutive years. Earlier, Lew served as OMB's Deputy Director and was a member of the negotiating team that reached a bipartisan agreement to balance the budget. As Special Assistant to President Clinton from 1993 to 1994, he helped design Americorps, the national service program.

Lew began his career in Washington in 1973 as a legislative aide. From 1979 to 1987, he was a principal domestic policy advisor to House Speaker Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr., when he served the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee as Assistant Director and then Executive Director. He was the Speaker's liaison to the Greenspan Commission, which negotiated a bipartisan solution to extend the solvency of Social Security in 1983, and he was responsible for domestic and economic issues, including Medicare, budget, tax, trade, appropriations, and energy issues.

Before joining the Obama Administration, Lew co-chaired the Advisory Board for City Year New York and was on the boards of the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Brookings Institution Hamilton Project, and the Tobin Project. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the National Academy of Social Insurance, and of the bar in Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.


  • AB, Harvard University, Magna cum laude
  • JD, Georgetown University Law Center

Research And Publications

In The Media

Geopolitical Stability

The launch of the Institute of Global Politics (IGP) highlights SIPA’s commitment to bringing scholars together with the world’s leading practitioners to drive change and address our toughest policy challenges.

Oct 03 2023

Dean Yarhi-Milo says Lew “is an inspired choice for this post, especially at such a critical moment in US-Israel relations. I know he’s up to the task.”

Sep 13 2023

Haines held up the war in Ukraine as an example of how leaders’ perception and experiences shape national decision making.

Mar 09 2023

Congratulations to Jacob Lew, who will be honored by the National Academy of Social Insurance next month; he'll receive a 2022 Robert M. Ball Award in recognition of outstanding achievement.

Sep 12 2022
National Academy of Social Insurance

The former U.S. treasury secretary, one of 261 new members, joined the SIPA faculty in 2017.

May 04 2022