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Sun, 04.04.1948

Richard D. Parsons, Businessman born

Richard Parsons

*Richard Parsons was born on this date in 1948.  He is a Black business executive and lawyer. 

Richard Dean "Dick" Parsons was born in Brooklyn, New York.  He was one of five children. His maternal grandfather had been head groundskeeper at the John D. Rockefeller estate, Kykuit. Growing up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn, Parsons's father, Lorenzo Locklair Parsons, was an electrical technician and his mother, Isabelle (née Judd), was a homemaker. 

He skipped a grade in elementary school and another in high school. He later attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he played varsity basketball.  After four years, he discovered that he could get into a law school in New York if he scored well enough on his pre-law exams.  In 1968, Parsons married Laura Ann Bush, a community activist with a doctorate in child psychology, who he met at the University of Hawaii. They have three grown children: Gregory, Leslie, and Rebecca.  Parsons was accepted by Albany Law School of Union University, New York, earning a Juris Doctor in 1971, finishing at the top of his class.  

In 1971, Parsons served an internship at the New York State Legislature, at which time he was invited to work as a lawyer for the staff of New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller. When Rockefeller was appointed Vice President of the United States in 1974, Parsons followed him to Washington, D.C., where he worked directly with Gerald Ford. He also met a young Rudolph W. Giuliani, with whom he supported in his campaign for New York mayor and heading his transitional council.  In 1977, Parsons in New York, a partner at the Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler law firm.  

During his 11 years at the firm, Parsons took on Margaretta Rockefeller, the widow of Nelson (who had died in 1979), as a high-profile client. In 1988, he was recruited to serve as a chief operating officer of the Dime Savings Bank of New York.  Parsons later became Chairman and CEO and oversaw a merger with Anchor Savings Bank.  Three years later, in 1991, he was invited to join Time Warner's board; he subsequently became president of the company in 1995 and helped negotiate the company's merger with America Online in 2000. 

In 2001, George W. Bush selected Parsons to co-chair a commission on Social Security.  Later that year, it was announced that Parsons had been selected as CEO of America Online.  In 2003, Parsons announced the name change from AOL Time Warner to Time Warner.  Parsons also worked on the transition team for Michael Bloomberg, who was elected Mayor of New York City in 2001. In 2006, Parsons selected to co-chair the transition team for the incoming Governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer.  In 2007, he became the chairman of the board of directors of the Jazz Foundation of America. He is also Chair of the Apollo Theater Foundation and Co-Chair of the Advisory Board of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.  

Parsons was chairman of Citigroup from 2009 until 2012. He is chairman of the Advisory Board of Feigen Advisors, a CEO advisory firm.  In June 2016, Parsons was appointed Board Chair of The Rockefeller Foundation, a foundation promoting the well-being of humanity worldwide. He joined the foundation's Board of Trustees in 2008.  Parsons was a member of the economic advisory team for President Barack Obama in 2008.  

In 2009, he had a child with model-philanthropist MacDella Cooper due to an extra-marital affair. In May 2014, in the wake of the Donald Sterling racial remarks controversy, Parsons was appointed the interim CEO of the Los Angeles Clippers.  In 2015, Parsons was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a rare blood cancer. Though he went into remission after Stem-cell therapy, complications in 2018 caused him to step down from his role as Interim Chairman of the Board of CBS. 

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