Robert B. Zoellick was a distinguished visiting fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics from July 2012 to November 2013. Previously he served for five years as the 11th president of the World Bank Group, which works with 187 member countries. Before joining the Bank, he served as vice chairman, international, of the Goldman Sachs Group, managing director, and chairman of Goldman Sachs' Board of International Advisors from 2006 to 2007.
In 2005–06, Zoellick served as the deputy secretary of the US State Department. He was the department's chief operating officer. From 2001 to January 2005, Zoellick served in the US cabinet as the 13th US trade representative.
Zoellick enacted or completed free trade agreements (FTAs) with Jordan, Chile, Singapore, Morocco, Bahrain, the five countries of Central America and the Dominican Republic, and Australia, quintupling the number of countries with which the United States has FTAs. He also launched FTAs later completed with Peru, Colombia, and Panama and enacted a basic trade agreement with Vietnam. He worked closely with the US Congress to pass Trade Promotion Authority, as well as preferential trade arrangements with Africa, the Andean countries, Caribbean states, and all developing economies.
From 1985 to 1993, Zoellick served with Secretary James A. Baker, III at the Treasury Department (from deputy assistant secretary for financial institutions policy to counselor to the secretary); State Department (undersecretary of state for economic and agricultural affairs as well as counselor of the department with undersecretary rank); and briefly as deputy chief of staff at the White House and assistant to the president. Zoellick was the lead US official in the "Two-plus-Four" process of German unification in 1989–90. He was the "sherpa" to the president for the preparation of the economic summits in 1991–92.
Zoellick has received a number of awards, including the Knight Commanders Cross from Germany for his work on unification; the Alexander Hamilton and Distinguished Service Awards, the highest honors of the Departments of Treasury and State, respectively; the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service; and a Doctorate of Humane Letters from St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Indiana.
Zoellick graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Swarthmore College in 1975. He earned a JD magna cum laude from the Harvard Law School and an MPP from the Kennedy School of Government in 1981. He lived in Hong Kong on a fellowship in 1980.