Advisory Director, Morgan Stanley

Richard A. Debs is an Advisory Director of Morgan Stanley and a member of its International Advisory Board. He joined Morgan Stanley in 1976 as the founding President of Morgan Stanley International to develop the investment bank’s international business, now a major part of its global activities. More recently, he was a member of the Group of Eight, former senior managers of Morgan Stanley who worked to bring about corporate governance improvements in the Firm.

Before joining Morgan Stanley, he was the Chief Operating Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where he also served as an Alternate Member of the Federal Open Market Committee. He was the Fed’s principal contact with the OPEC countries with regard to petrodollar issues in the 70’s. During his transition from the Fed to Morgan Stanley, at the request of David Rockefeller, he served as a pro-bono financial advisor to President Sadat of Egypt. 

Through his consulting firm, R.A. Debs & Co., formed after he retired as president, Mr. Debs has been involved in variety of business and philanthropic activities. Among other business associations, he has served as Chairman of the Malaysia Fund; as a Director of IBJ Whitehall Bank, Mizuho Corporate Bank (USA), Aubrey G. Lanston & Co., Mizuho Securities USA, and Gulf International Bank (London); and as an advisor to the Industrial Bank of Japan, Dai-Ichi Mutual Life Insurance Company, the Nissho-Iwai Corporation, and Bank Julius Baer.
Mr. Debs is Chairman Emeritus of the American University of Beirut, and is Chairman of its International Advisory Council. He is also Chairman Emeritus of Carnegie Hall and serves on its Executive Committee. He also serves as a trustee of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Institute of International Education, the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, and the Barenboim Said Foundation.

He is Chairman of the Bretton Woods Committee International Council; Vice Chairman of the U.S.-Saudi Business Council; Co-Chair of the Columbia University Middle East Institute Advisory Council; and a member of the Group of Thirty and Chairman of its Study Group on Eastern Europe. He has served as past Chairman of the New York Stock Exchange International Committee; the National Commission on the Public Service, the Carnegie Commission on the Role of the Multinational Development Banks, the Russian-American Bankers Forum, and the Board of Governors of the Foreign Policy Association; and on advisory committees of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; the World Bank; the International Monetary Fund; the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; as well as visiting committees of Princeton, Harvard, and Columbia Universities. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; the US/Middle East Project; the Economic Club of New York; the American Council on Germany and the Japan Society. 

He has been honored with awards from the Fulbright Association, the Third Street Music School Settlement, the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, the Arab American Bankers Association, the Harvard Law School, and the National Academy of Design, as well as the Government of Saudi Arabia, with the King Abdul Aziz Medal, and the Government of Lebanon, with the Cedars of Lebanon Medal. 

During his 16 years at the Federal Reserve, he served as a member of the FOMC Committee on Foreign Currency, and the Committee on International Banking. He was also Chairman of the Federal Reserve - Treasury Committee on Fiscal Agency Operations, which under his direction created the first book-entry system for securities in 1970. He also served as an Advisor on the United States delegations to the IMF and IBRD annual meetings.

He graduated summa cum laude from Colgate University, and holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. from Princeton, where he was a Ford Foundation Fellow. A member of the New York Bar, he is a graduate of the Harvard Law School as well as the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Egypt, where he subsequently held a joint Harvard-Princeton research fellowship on Islamic law. He later founded an Islamic law library collection at Harvard, and recently completed a book “Islamic Law and Civil Code” published by Columbia University Press and the American University in Cairo.

Mr. Debs is married to Dr. Barbara Knowles Debs, former President of Manhattanville College and of The New-York Historical Society.