General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret) became the 65th Secretary of State on January 20, 2001. After the events of September 11, Colin Powell led the State Department in major efforts to solve regional and civil conflicts in many areas across the globe, especially in Afghanistan and Iraq. In addition to confronting global security challenges, General Powell was at the forefront in the fight against HIV/AIDS, in the promise of the Millennium Challenge Account, and in pursuing a freer trading and investment climate worldwide.
Before becoming Secretary of State, Colin Powell served as a key aide to the Secretary of Defense and as National Security Advisor to President Reagan. He also served 35 years in the United States Army, rising to the rank of Four-Star General and serving as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989 – 1993). During this time he oversaw 28 crises to include the Panama intervention of 1989 and Operation Desert Storm in the victorious 1991 Persian Gulf War.
In 1997, General Powell became the founding Chairman of America’s Promise– The Alliance for Youth, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to mobilizing people from every sector of American life to build the character and competence of the nation’s youth. He has also been a member of the Board of Trustees of Howard University and the Board of Directors of the United Negro College Fund. The General also served on the Board of Governors of The Boys & Girls Clubs of America and was a member of the Advisory Board of the Children’s Health Fund.
Since returning to private life, General Powell has become a strategic limited partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. He is also on the Board of Directors of Revolution Health Care, a company developing strategies for consumer-directed health care. Powell is the Founder of the Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies at his alma mater, the City College of New York, and he is helping to raise funds for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC and for the construction of an education center for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
General Powell is the author of his best-selling autobiography, My American Journey. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the City College of New York (CCNY) and an MBA from George Washington University.
He is the recipient of many of the highest U.S. military and civilian awards, including both the Defense and Army Distinguished Service Medals, the Legion of Merit, and two Presidential Medals of Freedom. In addition, he has received awards from over two dozen countries to include a French Legion of Honor and an honorary knighthood bestowed by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.
Eduardo Serra Rexach has the distinction of having served in government under all three political parties that have administered Spain since democracy was reinstated in 1977: he was Secretary of State for Defence under the now-defunct, centrist party UCD, Minister of Defence under the social-democratic PSOE, and again Minister of Defence under the conservative Partido Popular. Yet he has never been a member of any of these parties nor does he consider himself a politician.
If ever a symbolic dam springs a leak in Spain, Serra will be the one called to plug the hole with his finger. In both politics and in business, he has demonstrated his skill as an able manager and negotiator, impeccably discrete and with a pragmatic and conciliatory approach to tackling problems. He is also well known and liked abroad, including the UK and the US (where he bought a bunch of new F-18s for the Spanish Air Force).
Eduardo Serra was born in Madrid on December 19, 1946. He studied law at the Complutense University in Madrid and passed tough competitive exams to become a State lawyer. Later, he served in mid-level posts in the ministries of Education and Industry. In 1982 he was named Secretary of State for Defence, the first civilian to hold the post. Between 1984 and 1987 he served as Minister of Defense under the Felipe Gonzalez government.
Then he went into the private sector, holding executive posts in Telettra (chairman, 1986), Cubiertas y MZOV (vice-chairman, 1989, and chairman, 1991), Peugeot Spain (chairman, 1992). In 1994 he became chairman of the newly formed Airtel telecom company, a post he held until he was called back to public office, this time by the conservative Partido Popular, to serve as Defence Minister from 1996 until 2000. According to one report it was the Spanish King himself who requested his designation. During this second tenure he carried through the professionalization of the Spanish Army, which would end compulsory military service.
After leaving the government at his own request, he was appointed to head the board of trustees of the Prado Museum, a non-paying post, because it was felt his managerial and negotiation skills would be valuable at a time when the famous Madrid landmark is about to embark on a major and complicated restructuring. He has also served as president of the Foundation for Assistance Against Drug Addiction since 1996.
In October 2000 he was recruited by the Swiss banking group UBS Warburg, as chairman of their Spanish branch.
Eduardo Serra is married to Luz del Camino Municio. He has a son by a previous marriage.