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Global Financial Crisis :: Keynote Speakers

Erik Berglöf | Ken Feinberg | Simon Johnson

Erik Berglöf is Chief Economist and Special Adviser to the President at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Prior to joining the EBRD in 2006, he held the position of Director of the Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics (SITE) and Professor at the Stockholm School of Economics. He was previously Assistant Professor at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, has held visiting positions at Harvard and Stanford, and was a Fulbright Scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Erik Berglöf is a widely published and internationally respected specialist in the field of transition economics. His focus has been on policy-related issues in transition economies, and he has regularly provided advice to national governments and international institutions including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

He was the founder and President of the Centre for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR) in Moscow, Programme Director at the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) in London, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., and Board Member and Research Fellow of the European Corporate Governance Institute.

He received his Masters degree in Economics in 1986 and his Ph.D. in Financial Economics in 1991, both at the Stockholm School of Economics.

Ken Feinberg Kenneth R. Feinberg, who currently serves as the Special Master for Executive Compensation (“pay czar”) on behalf of the U.S. Treasury Secretary for TARP companies, is one of the nation’s leading experts in mediation and alternative dispute resolution.  He is the managing partner of Feinberg Rozen, LLP, and has had a distinguished teaching career as Adjunct Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Center, University of Pennsylvania Law School, New York University School of Law, the University of Virginia Law School, and Columbia Law School.  Mr. Feinberg was designated “Lawyer of the Year” by the National Law Journal in 2004, and has been listed numerous times in “Profiles in Power: The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America.” He has written many articles and essays on mediation, mass torts, and other matters, and is the author of What is Life Worth? The Unprecedented Effort to Compensate the Victims of 9/11 (2005).

Mr. Feinberg was appointed by the Secretary of the Treasury to serve as the Special Master for Executive Compensation and by the Attorney General of the United States to serve as the Special Master of the Federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001.  In this capacity, he developed and promulgated the Regulations governing the administration of the Fund and administered all aspects of the program, including evaluating applications, determining appropriate compensation, and disseminating awards.  He also served as the Fund Administrator responsible for the design, implementation and administration of the claims process for the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund following the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech University; was  retained by Liberty Mutual Insurance Company and Zurich Insurance Company to design, implement, and administer an Alternative Dispute Resolution Program for resolving insurance claims arising out of Hurricane Katrina and other hurricanes in the Gulf region; and was one of two arbitrators selected to determine the allocation of legal fees in the Holocaust slave labor litigation.

Mr. Feinberg was appointed in June of 2007 as the Distribution Agent In Re: United States Securities and Exchange Commission v. American International Group, Inc., responsible for the preparation and implementation of a Plan for the distribution of a Fair Fund of $800 million to eligible claimants, and has served as Fund Administrator in other prominent settlements.

Mr. Feinberg was a member of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Human Radiation Experiments from 1994 to 1998; the Presidential Commission on Catastrophic Nuclear Accidents from 1989 to 1990; and the Carnegie Commission Task Force on Science and Technology in Judicial and Regulatory Decision Making from 1989 to 1993.  He is currently a member of the National Judicial Panel, Center for Public Resources, and previously chaired the American Bar Association Special Committee on Mass Torts from 1988 to 1989.  He is also a national arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association.

He was a Law Clerk for Chief Judge Stanley H. Fuld, New York State Court of Appeals from 1970 to 1972; Assistant United States Attorney, Southern District of New York from 1972 to 1975; Special Counsel, United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary from 1975 to 1980; Administrative Assistant to Senator Edward M. Kennedy from 1977 to 1979; Partner at Kaye, Scholer, Fierman, Hays & Handler from 1980 to 1993; and founded The Feinberg Group, LLP in 1993.

He currently serves as Chairman Elect of the Board of the RAND Institute of Civil Justice, Vice Chairman of the Board of Human Rights First, and President of the Washington National Opera, and is a member of the Board of the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law.  He received his B.A. cum laude from the University of Massachusetts in 1967 and his J.D. from New York University School of Law in 1970, where he was Articles Editor of the Law Review.

Simon JohnsonSimon Johnson is the Ronald A. Kurtz Professor of Entrepreneurship at MIT Sloan School of Management. He is a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, D.C. and a member of the Congressional Budget Office's Panel of Economic Advisers, and also co-founded, a widely cited website on the global economy which has been described by Paul Krugman as "a must read" and by Bill Moyers as "one of the most informative news sites in the blogosphere." Mr. Johnson appears regularly on NPR's Planet Money podcast in the Economist House Calls feature, is a weekly contributor to's Economix, and has a video blog feature on The New Republic's website. He is co-director of the NBER project on Africa and President of the Association for Comparative Economic Studies (term of office 2008-2009).

From March 2007 through the end of August 2008, Professor Johnson was the International Monetary Fund's Economic Counselor (chief economist) and Director of its Research Department. At the IMF, Professor Johnson led the global economic outlook team, helped formulate innovative responses to worldwide financial turmoil, and was among the earliest to propose new forms of engagement for sovereign wealth funds. He was also the first IMF chief economist to have a blog. In 2000-2001 Professor Johnson was a member of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's Advisory Committee on Market Information. His assessment of the need for continuing strong market regulation is published as part of the final report from that committee.

Mr. Johnson is an expert on financial and economic crises. As an academic, in policy roles, and with the private sector, over the past 20 years he has worked on crisis prevention, amelioration, and recovery around the world, in both relatively rich and relatively poor countries. His work focuses on how policymakers can limit the impact of negative shocks and manage the risks faced by their countries.

He has worked with most of the leading research organizations focused on global economic stability. He remains a Research Associate at the NBER, a CEPR Research Fellow, a BREAD affiliate, a member of the Advisory Group at the Center for Global Development (CGD) in Washington D.C., a member of the International Advisory Board of CASE in Warsaw, and a non-resident Research Fellow at the Asian Institute for Corporate Governance of Korea University.

His previous experience includes two years as an Assistant Director in the IMF's Research Department. He also co-founded the Africa Project at the NBER, co-chaired a taskforce on Latin American reforms at CGD, helped run a research center in Moscow, and participated in the Global Advisory Board of Endeavor, an organization that promotes entrepreneurship in emerging markets.

Professor Johnson has regularly used his research findings, often in association with the Brattle Group, to provide advice on global strategy. In the past, he has worked closely with clients in the investment banking, oil, telecommunications and consumer goods sectors on worldwide issues. He has also worked with the World Bank, the IMF, and other international organizations in various advisory capacities.

Professor Johnson is co-author of the forthcoming book 13 Bankers - The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown, which is due out in April 2010. Recent papers have appeared or are forthcoming in the American Economic Review, the Journal of Political Economy, the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the Journal of Financial Economics, and the Journal of Finance. He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Financial Economics, the Review of Economics and Statistics, the Journal of Comparative Economics, and Cliometrica (a new Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History).

His Ph.D. is in economics from MIT, his MA is in Economics from the University of Manchester, and his BA is in Economics and Politics from the University of Oxford.