I am reading William Cohan’s new book “Money And Power: How Goldman Sachs Came To Rule The World”. Cohan includes an interesting tidbit on former Goldman President John Thornton and his retirement to a full professorship at Tsinghua (Qinghua) University.
Thornton, who left Goldman in 2003, is now Chairman of the Brookings Institution, endowed the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings and is a full professor at Tsinghua.
Cohan writes that Goldman CEO Henry Paulson forced Thornton out of the firm and to ease the transition arranged for Tsinghua to make Thornton a full professor:
…thanks to Paulson and his connections [Thornton] was named a full professor at Tsinghua University, in Beijing..for reasons not entirely clear as to why this honor was bestowed upon him-he spoke no Chinese-Thornton was the first non-Chinese to be named a full professor at the University and was named the first director of the University’s newly established (thanks to Paulson) Program for Global Leadership.
Assuming Cohan’s reporting is accurate, Goldman, at least in 2003, was influential enough in China that it can arrange full professorships at Tsinghua, China’s top university.