Sunday, January 15, 2006
By Richard Beales in New York and Andrew Balls in Washington
January 15 2006
Alan Greenspan is set to join the elite group of luminaries who command a six-figure fee for an after-dinner speech when he steps down as chairman of the US Federal Reserve at the end of this month.
With requests for speaking engagements piling up at the Fed, Mr Greenspan is expected to become a star client of the Washington Speakers Bureau, according to sources in the US event management industry.
WSB is among the most prestigious of the handful of firms that arrange appearances for well-known figures and counts among its clients Colin Powell, the former US secretary of state, and John Cleese, the British comic actor.
Mr Greenspan is likely to become one of the most sought-after speakers in the world on his retirement, joining such big name draws as Bill Clinton, the former US president, and Jack Welch, former chief executive of General Electric.
Staff at the Fed have encouraged the chairman to sign up with a professional speakers' bureau to handle his many invitations and help with travel and other arrangements when, after more than 18 years at the central bank, he goes it alone.
Mr Greenspan, who turns 80 in March, is expected to focus his energies on writing a book that draws on his experience as the world's most influential economic policymaker and more than 50 years' study of the US economy.
He has been offered corporate consultancies and directorships, though the Fed's ethics rules mean he will consider those only after he steps down.
Income is unlikely to be a priority. He and his wife, Andrea Mitchell, a well-known television reporter who is also listed as a client by WSB, own investments worth several million dollars, according to required disclosures made last year.
But if he does choose to take up speaking invitations from companies and conference organisers, Mr Greenspan – current annual salary: $180,100 – could charge as much as $150,000 for a single US appearance, according to one US event management expert, although WSB would usually take a percentage.