Walter Bigelow Wriston Biography

Business Leader(1919–2005)
Walter Bigelow Wriston is best known for long serving as president and chairman of Citibank, and for introducing the world to the ATM.

Synopsis

As president (1967–70) and chairman (1970–84) of Citibank, Walter Bigelow Wriston was one of the nation's most influential bankers. He led the move to expand Citibank's commercial operations, including home mortgages and credit-card services, before retiring in 1984. He also chaired President Reagan's Economic Policy Advisory Board (1982–89), and is credited with the introduction of ATM. Wriston died in New York City in 2005.

Background

Walter Bigelow Wriston was born in Middletown, Connecticut, on August 3, 1919, the son of a historian who later became president of Brown University. Walter B. Wriston graduated from Wesleyan College in 1941 and served four years in the U.S. Army before joining First National City Bank (later Citibank) in 1946.

President and Chairman of Citibank

As president (1967-70) and chairman (1970-84) of Citibank, Wriston held sway as one of the nation's most influential bankers. He led the move to expand Citibank's commercial operations, including home mortgages and credit-card services. He also chaired President Reagan's Economic Policy Advisory Board (1982-89), and wrote the books Risk and Other Four Letter Words (1986) and The Twilight of Sovereignty (1992).

Wriston is also credited with the introduction of the automated teller machine (ATM).

Later Years

Wriston retired as chairman of Citibank in 1984. Two decades later, in 2004, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He died on January 19, 2005, at the age of 85, in New York City.

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