About Richard A. Debs
Advisory Director, Morgan Stanley
Richard 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, Mr. Debs was 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 principal contact with the OPEC countries with regard to petrodollar issues during the 1970s. During his transition from the Federal Reserve Bank 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 a variety of business and philanthropic activities. Among other business associations, he has served as Chairman of the Malaysia Fund; Director of IBJ Whitehall Bank, Mizuho Corporate Bank (USA), Aubrey G. Lanston & Co., Mizuho Securities USA, and Gulf International Bank (London); and 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.
Mr. Debs is Vice Chairman of the U.S.–Saudi Business Council and Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the U.S./Middle East Project, the Overseas Development Council, and the Economic Club of New York, among others. He is past Chairman and a Member of the New York Stock Exchange International Committee and has served on the National Commission on the Public Service and the Board of Governors of the Foreign Policy Association, among others. Mr. Debs has been honored with awards from multiple organizations, including the Arab American Bankers Association, 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.
He graduated summa cum laude from Colgate University, and holds an M.A. and a PhD 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 authored a book on Islamic law and founded an Islamic law library collection at Harvard.