John L. Thornton
|John Lawson Thornton|
|Born||January 2, 1954|
|Alma mater||Harvard College (B.A.)
Oxford University (B.J., M.J.)
Yale University (M.A.)
John Lawson Thornton (born January 2, 1954) is a Professor and Director of the Global Leadership Program at Tsinghua University in Beijing. He is also Executive Chairman of Barrick Gold Corporation and Non-Executive Chairman of PineBridge Investments. Thornton retired as President of Goldman Sachs in 2003.
Early life and education
Thornton is the son of John V. Thornton, a former vice chairman of the Consolidated Edison Company, and Edna Lawson Thornton, a lawyer. He attended the Hotchkiss School, and would later serve as President of the school’s Board of Trustees.
Thornton received a bachelor's degree in history from Harvard College in 1976, a B.A/M.A. in jurisprudence from Oxford University in 1978, and an M.A. in Public and Private Management from the Yale School of Management in 1980. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Bank Street College of Education in 2003. Thornton was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2007 and an Honorary Fellow of St John’s College, Oxford University in 2009.
Thornton joined Goldman Sachs in 1980 and became a partner at age 34. In 1983, he founded and developed Goldman Sachs' European mergers and acquisitions business. He first began work in London in 1985, and served as co-CEO of Goldman Sachs International in London from 1995 to 1996. Thornton was Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asia from 1996 to 1998, where he expanded the firm's regional franchise during the Asian financial crisis. He announced his retirement from Goldman Sachs in 2003 to take up an academic position in China, although he would remain an adviser on issues related to China. According to the New York Times, Thornton's decision to retire "was prompted by a recognition that Mr. Paulson, who is 56, plans to remain Goldman's leader for at least three to five more years, delaying Mr. Thornton's expected promotion."
In 2013, Barrick Gold faced criticism over Thornton's compensation, following the company’s decision to award him an $11.9 million sign-on bonus. According to the Globe and Mail, the company later acknowledged shareholder concerns and vowed to make changes to its compensation practices. At the company’s 2016 annual general meeting, more than 90% of Barrick’s shareholders approved the company’s compensation practices.
Thornton has served on the boards of many large public companies including China Unicom, HSBC, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Intel and News Corporation. He is currently Executive Chairman of Barrick Gold Corporation, a member of the board of Ford Motor Company and also serves as Non-Executive Chairman of Pinebridge Investments.
He is also Chairman of the Board of trustees of the Brookings Institution.
In 2007, Institutional Investor Magazine named John Thornton one of forty individuals who have had the greatest influence in shaping global financial markets over the past forty years. He received the 2009 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Achievement Award, which every year honors one past participant in collegiate tennis who has made unique contributions to society as well as achieving excellence in their careers.
Thornton appeared on the National Post’s 2017 Power List of the most influential people shaping Canadian business. The newspaper noted Thornton has “overseen a massive overhaul at Toronto-based Barrick” following which the company “has shed billions of dollars of debt and generated excellent financial results."
Interest in China
Thornton's interest in China stretches to the 1980s, where he helped build Goldman's presence in Asia. At the time of his retirement, Goldman had become the lead underwriter for major Chinese state-owned companies.
In 2006, Thornton funded the establishment of the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution. In 2009, he also became a member of the International Advisory Council of the Chinese sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corporation.
In 2008, he was awarded the Friendship Award of the People’s Republic of China, the highest honor accorded to a non-Chinese citizen. The Chinese government also named him as one of fifteen ‘foreign experts’ who have made the most significant contribution to China’s development over the past three decades.
Thornton is married to Margaret Bradham Thornton. They have four children.
- "NNDB Executive profile - John L. Thornton".
- "School of Public Policy and Management,Tsinghua University". www.tsinghua.edu.cn. Retrieved 2016-02-20.
- "Barrick Gold Corporation - Company - Management". www.barrick.com. Retrieved 2016-02-20.
- "John L. Thornton | PineBridge Investments". www.pinebridge.com. Retrieved 2016-02-20.
- "John L. Thornton | PineBridge Investments". www.pinebridge.com. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
- "Ford Online Annual Report 2014 - Board of Directors and Executives". corporate.ford.com. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
- "Barrick Gold Corporation - Company - Management". www.barrick.com. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
- "About - John L. Thornton China Center". The Brookings Institution.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-03-23. Retrieved 2010-04-16.