John W. Snow Biography

(Former United States Secretary of the Treasury)

Birthday: August 2, 1939 (Leo)

Born In: Toledo, Ohio, United States

John William Snow was the 73rd United States Secretary of the Treasury and a former CEO of CSX Corporation, a Forbes 500 company. He is currently Director of the Boards of many companies. Born into a middleclass American family, he acquired double doctorates and took up teaching posts at University of Maryland and George Washington University Law School. He gave up his teaching career to take up public service on a full-time basis. He became the Deputy Undersecretary in the Department of Transportation, which helped him when he temporarily left public service, during Jimmy Carter’s Presidency, to become Vice President Governmental Affairs for Chessie System. Chessie System was a railroad company, which after some mergers became CSX Corporation. He headed CSX Corporation's holding division as its President, CEO and Chairman. He left the company when President George W. Bush appointed him Secretary of the Treasury in his Administration. He had the task of defending the government's monetary policy of not intervening in the international currency market, while the government asserted that the dollar was strong. He resigned after some discrepancies in his tax payments surfaced. His most important contributions happened in the 1990s as a supporter of improved corporate governance practices and as a lobbyist for the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Quick Facts

Also Known As: John William Snow

Age: 84 Years, 84 Year Old Males


Spouse/Ex-: Carolyn

father: William Dean Snow

mother: Catherine

Born Country: United States

Educators Political Leaders

political ideology: Republican

U.S. State: Ohio

City: Toledo, Ohio

More Facts

education: The George Washington University Law School (1967), University of Toledo (1962), Johns Hopkins University, Gilmour Academy, Kenyon College, George Washington University, University of Virginia

Childhood & Early Life
John William Snow was born on August 2, 1939 at Toledo, Ohio, to Catherine (Howard), a school teacher, and William Dean Snow, a tax attorney. He completed high school from Gilmour Academy in Gates Mills, Ohio.
He joined Kenyon College and graduated from the University of Toledo. After obtaining a Doctorate in Economics from the University of Virginia, he taught Economics at the University of Maryland from 1965 to 1968.
He achieved a second doctorate, when he got his Juris Doctor degree from the George Washington University Law School. He joined the Washington, DC -based law company, Wheeler & Wheeler in 1967.
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From 1972 to 1975, Snow taught Law at the George Washington University Law School. During this period, he served in many other government posts such as Assistant General Counsel for the Department of Transportation.
In 1975, he resigned from his teaching post, and assumed the post of Deputy Undersecretary in the Department of Transportation. The following year, he became Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
During Carter’s Presidency, he exited from governmental posts to resume teaching at the University of Virginia and the American Enterprise Institute, and was a Distinguished Fellow at the Yale School of Management until 1980.
His experience with the Department of Transportation proved invaluable when, in 1977, he become the Vice President Governmental Affairs for Chessie System, Inc., which owned three American railroads.
In 1980, CSX Corporation was formed following a merger agreement between Chessie System, Inc. and Seaboard Coast Line Industries. Snow became the new company’s Senior Vice President-Corporate Services.
By 1985, he had become President and CEO of CSX Corporation's B&O Railroad. A merger with their C&O Railway resulted in a new subsidiary called CSX Transportation, with him as President and CEO.
In 1988, he joined CSX Corporation (the holding company) as its President and CEO. Two years later, he became its Chairman as well, and remained so, until his appointment as Secretary of the Treasury.
Appointed Secretary of the Treasury by President George W. Bush in 2003, he made the ‘Jobs and Growth Tour’ with the Labor and Commerce Secretaries, to explain the President’s tax cuts plan.
When his brokers bought $ 10 million of debt issued by two public governments – sponsored enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, he divested the holdings, and avoided a potential conflict of interest situation.
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In 2006, he resigned when it was revealed that he had not paid the income tax on the $24 million loan waiver he was given while he was CEO of CSX Corporation.
He is presently one of the Directors of International Consolidated Airlines Group, and Marathon Petroleum Corporation, Lender Processing Services, Inc., and the non-executive Chairman of Cerberus Capital Management LP.
Major Works
Snow supported improved corporate governance practices as the co-chairman of the Conference Board's Blue-Ribbon Commission on Public Trust and Private Enterprise, and the National Commission on Financial Institution Reform, Recovery and Enforcement in 1992.
As the Chairman of the Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers of leading companies, from 1994 to1996, he was instrumental in the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Snow was presented with an honorary LL.D by his Alma mater, Kenyon College, in 1993. Yale School of Management honored him by appointing him Distinguished Fellow.
He has been presented the U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary's Outstanding Achievement Award, and in 2006, The George Washington Law Alumni Association’s J. William Fulbright Distinguished Public Service Award.
Personal Life & Legacy
John W. Snow married Carolyn, and the couple has three children and six grand children. Though his office is in Washington, he prefers to be in his home in Richmond, on weekends.
When this former CEO of CSX was asked what he did for a living, he replied that he was employed in a transportation company, giving an impression that he was a shipping clerk.
This former Secretary of Treasury believes in facing problems and realities, rather than escaping it. He declared, “You don't fix the problem until you define it”.

See the events in life of John W. Snow in Chronological Order

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