Holly Petraeus

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Holly Petraeus
Hollister K. Knowlton

(1952-07-17) July 17, 1952 (age 71)
EducationDickinson College (BA)
(m. 1974)

Hollister K. Petraeus (née Knowlton; born July 17, 1952) is a retired Assistant Director at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), where she headed up the Office of Servicemember Affairs.[1] She retired on January 12, 2017. Her work at the CFPB centered around educating service members on sound financial management and protecting them against predatory lending and cons.[2][3] She is the wife of retired General David Howell Petraeus.

Early life and education[edit]

Petraeus was born as Hollister K. Knowlton in Paris, France into a military family. Her father, General William Allen Knowlton, was a United States Army four-star general, and a former Superintendent of the United States Military Academy. She was presented as a debutante to high society at the prestigious International Debutante Ball at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.[4]

Petraeus graduated summa cum laude from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 1974, with Honors in French. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.[5]


Petraeus spent six years as the Director of BBB Military Line,[6] a program of the Council of Better Business Bureaus providing consumer education and advocacy for service members and their families. She helped develop the curriculum now used to educate service members in sensible financial management.[7][8]

The 18th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Ronald L. Green, hosts a sunset parade at the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington County, Virginia on August 11, 2015. The Honorable Mrs. Holly Petraeus, Assistant Director, Service Member Affairs at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, was the guest of honor at the parade.

In 2011, Elizabeth Warren appointed Petraeus to be Assistant Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, leading the Office of Servicemember Affairs. The office partners with the Pentagon to see that military families receive a strong financial education; monitors their complaints to the CFPB; and coordinates efforts of federal and state agencies regarding consumer protection measures for military families.[9]

Petraeus wrote extensively for the CFPB's blog, with 50+ published articles as of July 2016.[10] She has also been published in The New York Times, writing about exploitable clauses in the Higher Education Act that incentivize private for-profit colleges to see service members as “dollar signs in uniform” and recruit them aggressively.[11] She is frequently interviewed in regards to her work, and has served as a public speaker at events like the National Conference of State Legislature's 2013 Legislative Summit.[5][12]

Petraeus appeared before several Congressional committees in her role at the CFPB in order to increase U.S. lawmakers’ awareness of the financial difficulties facing military service members.[13][14]

Honors and awards[edit]

Honorary degrees[edit]


Personal life[edit]

Petraeus comes from a family known for a history of military service. Her great-great grandfather fought in the Civil War and the Indian Wars; her great-grandfather was a brigadier general who fought in the Spanish–American War and World War I; her grandfather served in both World Wars, earning a Silver Star in the first and rising to lieutenant colonel in the second. Her father, William A. Knowlton, was a retired four-star general and NATO commander. He was also Superintendent of the United States Military Academy.[24]

In 1974, she married David Petraeus, whom she met when he was a cadet at the United States Military Academy.[25][26] They have a daughter and a son and reside in the Washington, D.C., area.


  1. ^ "Consumer Financial Protection Bureau structure". Retrieved July 18, 2016.
  2. ^ Wood, Christina (December 2016). "Easy Targets No More". Military Officer. Military Officer's Association of America. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  3. ^ Howard, Henry. "$12 billion and counting for consumers". The American Legion. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  4. ^ "Hollister Knowlton Betrothed To David H. Petraeus, a Cadet". The New York Times. 12 May 1974. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "National Conference of State Legislatures Q&A". August 12, 2013.
  6. ^ "BBB Military Line Workshops". www.bbbmarketplacetrust.org.
  7. ^ Shahien Nasiripour; Chris Kirkham (January 4, 2011). "Holly Petraeus To Be Elizabeth Warren's Pick For Top Post In New Consumer Protection Agency". Huffington Post.
  8. ^ Tamara Keith (April 25, 2011). "Holly Petraeus: An Army Wife Takes Command". NPR.
  9. ^ Elizabeth Warren (January 6, 2011). "Welcoming Holly Petraeus to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Implementation Team". whitehouse.gov – via National Archives.
  10. ^ "Consumer Financial Protection Bureau blog". Retrieved July 18, 2016.
  11. ^ Hollister K. Petraeus (September 21, 2011). "For-Profit Colleges, Vulnerable G.I.'s". The New York Times.
  12. ^ Jana Kasperkevic (March 16, 2014). "Holly Petraeus: 'Some people don't balk at taking advantage of veterans'". The Guardian.
  13. ^ Holly Petraeus (November 3, 2011). "Testimony of Hollister K. Petraeus before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs". Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  14. ^ Holly Petraeus (November 20, 2013). "Hollister K. Petraeus Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation". Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  15. ^ ""Tiger Team" of ABI's Task Force on Veterans and Servicemembers Affairs Receives Prestigious ABI Service Award | ABI". www.abi.org. Retrieved 2022-06-12.
  16. ^ "Beacon of Ethics award recipients" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 21, 2016. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
  17. ^ J.D. Leipold (May 24, 2013). "Three Army heroes honored by PenFed Foundation". U.S. Army.
  18. ^ Army News Service (May 8, 2014). "Vice chief, wife named recipients of Easter Seals Advocacy Awards". U.S. Army.
  19. ^ "Daughters of the American Revolution Convene in Washington, D.C. 121st Continental Congress held in DAR Constitution Hall" (Press release). Washington, D.C.: Daughters of the American Revolution. June 27, 2012. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
  20. ^ "The HillVets 100 of 2014". Veteran Tickets Foundation. February 5, 2015.
  21. ^ The Women's Center Leadership Conference 2014, archived from the original on July 13, 2015, retrieved July 18, 2016
  22. ^ Boice, MJ. "NMFA Honors Advocates". National Military Family Association. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  23. ^ ""Tiger Team" of ABI's Task Force on Veterans and Servicemembers Affairs Receives Prestigious ABI Service Award | ABI". www.abi.org. Retrieved 2022-06-12.
  24. ^ Rick Hampson (March 19, 2012). "Holly Petraeus makes her own mark on the military". USA Today.
  25. ^ "Hollister Knowlton Betrothed To David H. Petraeus, a Cadet". The New York Times. May 12, 1974. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
  26. ^ "Who is Holly Petraeus?". HLN. August 6, 2013.