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Sheila Colleen Bair[1] (born April 3, 1954)[2] was the 19th Chair of the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC),[3] during which time she assumed a prominent role in the government's response to the 2008 financial crisis. She was appointed to the post for a five-year term on June 26, 2006 by George W. Bush.

Sheila Bair
Sheila Bair.jpg
President of Washington College
In office
Preceded byJack Griswold
Succeeded byKurt Landgraf
Chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
In office
June 26, 2006 – July 8, 2011
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Barack Obama
Preceded byMartin Gruenberg (Acting)
Succeeded byMartin Gruenberg
Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Institutions
In office
July 2001 – June 2002
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byGregory Baer
Succeeded byWayne Abernathy
Chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission
In office
August 21, 1993 – December 21, 1993
PresidentBill Clinton
Preceded byWilliam Albrecht (Acting)
Succeeded byBarbara Holum (Acting)
Personal details
Sheila Colleen Bair

(1954-04-03) April 3, 1954 (age 65)
Wichita, Kansas, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Scott Cooper
EducationUniversity of Kansas (BA, JD)

On August 1, 2015, she became the 28th president of Washington College in Chestertown, MD. She left Washington College on June 30, 2017. Previously, Bair served as a member of the FDIC Board of Directors through July 8, 2011.[4] She is not to be confused with Sheila S. Blair, a leading scholar of Islamic art.


Early lifeEdit

Bair is a native of Independence, Kansas. Her father, Albert, was a surgeon. Her mother, Clara, was a nurse and housewife. She received her bachelor's degree in philosophy from the University of Kansas in 1975,[5] and worked as a bank teller for a brief period, before receiving a J.D. from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1978. In 1981, she was recruited by Senator Bob Dole, a Republican from her state, to serve as counsel on his staff in Washington.


Prior to her appointment at the FDIC, Bair was the Dean's Professor of Financial Regulatory Policy for the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, a post she had held since 2002. She also served as Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions at the U.S. Department of the Treasury (2001 to 2002), Senior Vice President for Government Relations of the New York Stock Exchange (1995 to 2000), a Commissioner and Acting Chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (1991 to 1995), and Research Director, Deputy Counsel and Counsel to Kansas Republican Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (1981 to 1988). While an academic, Bair also served on the FDIC's Advisory Committee on Banking Policy. Bair also pursued a seat in the U.S. Congress (she lost the 1990 Republican nomination in the 5th Kansas district by 760 votes to Dick Nichols).[6] Bair began her career in the General Counsel's office of the former U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.[7]

Bair left the FDIC on July 8, 2011, when her five-year term expired.[8][9] She became a senior advisor to The Pew Charitable Trusts in August 2011.[10] She is chair of the Systemic Risk Council, a volunteer effort formed by the CFA Institute and the Pew Charitable Trusts to monitor and comment on regulation.[11] Bull by the Horns: Fighting to Save Main Street from Wall Street and Wall Street from Itself was published September 25, 2012. Bair has also written two books for children that encourage savings: Rock, Brock and the Savings Shock (2006) and Isabel's Car Wash (2008). Bair joined the board of Banco Santander in January 2014, even though she has been a critic of revolving door.[12]

Bair is married to Scott P. Cooper and has two children, Preston and Colleen.

2008 financial crisisEdit

Bair is active on the international front, and pressed the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision to adopt strong capital and leverage standards.[13]

In a fictional TV movie about the crises, Patricia Randell played Bair in the 2011 HBO movie Too Big to Fail, based on the popular book of the same name by New York Times journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin.[14]


In 2009, Bair was named one of Time magazine's "Time 100" most influential people. In 2008, Bair topped The Wall Street Journal's annual 50 "Women to Watch List." In 2008 and 2009, Forbes ranked her as the second most powerful woman in the world behind German chancellor Angela Merkel. Forbes described her FDIC office as "the last stop for capital-starved banks (and their insured customers) before going under."[15]


Bair has received many awards, including the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award and Hubert H. Humphrey Civil Rights Award.[16]

In 2009, Bair was presented the Consumer Federation of America's Philip Hart Public Service Award.[17]

On March 29, 2012 Bair was honored by the Romney Institute of Public Management (BYU Marriott School of Management) as the Administrator of the Year.[18][19]


  • Bair, Sheila (2012). Bull by the horns : fighting to save Main Street from Wall Street and Wall Street from itself. New York: Free Press. ISBN 9781451672480. LCCN 2012039342.
  • Bair, Sheila; illustrated by Judy Stead (2008). Isabel's car wash. Morton Grove, Illinois: Albert Whitman & Co. ISBN 9780807536520. LCCN 2007030956.
  • Bair, Sheila; illustrated by Barry Gott (2006). Rock, Brock, and the savings shock. Morton Grove, Illinois: Albert Whitman & Co. ISBN 9780807570944. LCCN 2005026974.


  1. ^ "Presidential Nomination: Sheila Colleen Bair". The White House website via 2006-05-01. Retrieved 2009-03-08.
  2. ^ Howard, Theresa (2008-10-03). "FDIC's Bair emerges as key player in bank rescues". USA Today.
  3. ^ "FDIC: Board of Directors & Senior Executives". Archived from the original on 2010-11-23. Retrieved 2010-10-17. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. ^ "FDIC: Board of Directors & Senior Executives". FDIC. Archived from the original on 23 November 2010. Retrieved 9 July 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  5. ^ "Bair, Sheila C.". Current Biography Yearbook 2010. Ipswich, MA: H.W. Wilson. 2010. pp. 23–26. ISBN 9780824211134.
  6. ^ Cope, Debra; James Swann (October 2006). "Full plate, Open mind: Meet FDIC chairman Sheila Bair". Community Banker. Retrieved 02-01-2009. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)[dead link]
  7. ^ "FDIC: Tapping the Unbanked Market: Helping People Enter the Financial Mainstream". Retrieved 2010-10-17.
  8. ^ Nocera, Joe (July 9, 2011). "Sheila Bair's Bank Shot". New York Times Magazine.
  9. ^ "FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair leaving agency". USA Today. 2011-05-09.
  10. ^ The Pew Charitable Trusts (2011). Former FDIC Chair Sheila C. Bair to Join Pew as Senior Advisor Archived 2012-09-09 at Retrieved May 12, 2012.
  11. ^ "Former FDIC Chair to Lead Systemic Risk Council". 2012-06-06.
  12. ^ William Alden (January 27, 2014). "Bair, Critic of the Revolving Door, Joins Board of Santander". New York Times. Retrieved 18 August 2014.
  13. ^ Basel Committee said to consider 3% surcharge on biggest banks
  14. ^ "Patricia Randell". Ensemble Studio Theatre. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  15. ^ "Forbes Most Powerful Women #2 Shelia C. Bair". August 27, 2008. Retrieved 2011-07-18.
  16. ^ "FDIC chair Sheila Bair to give 2010 Dole Lecture - KU News". University of Kansas. Retrieved 2010-10-17.
  17. ^ "Thirty-Ninth Annual Awards Dinner" (PDF). Consumer Federation of America. June 17, 2009. Retrieved 2013-01-21. (hard to view)
  18. ^ "BYU MPA Administrator of the Year". Archived from the original on 2012-05-19. Retrieved 2012-03-30. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  19. ^ "Administrator of the Year and Graduation Banquet". Archived from the original on 2012-04-19. Retrieved 2012-03-30. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)

External linksEdit