Jerry I. Speyer (born June 23, 1940) is an American real estate developer. He is one of two founding partners of the New York real estate company Tishman Speyer, which controls the Rockefeller Center and the Chrysler Building.
Early life and education
Speyer was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the son of Germaine M. and Ernest A. Speyer. According to a 1998 profile in The New York Times, “[Speyer’s] mother is Swiss, and his father comes from one of the old Jewish families of Frankfurt” (however, there is only very distant connection to the Speyer banking family, if any); his father, a shoe manufacturer, fled Germany in 1939, established a business in Milwaukee, before moving to New York when Jerry was three months old. Speyer grew up in a cultured German-Jewish household on Riverside Drive. He graduated from the private Horace Mann School. At Columbia University, he majored in German literature and joined Zeta Beta Tau, a Jewish fraternity. “Speyer was one of those people who were solid, and even solemn, at an age when others are still flailing and unsure of themselves.” Speyer graduated from Columbia College in 1962 and received an MBA from Columbia Business School in 1964.
Speyer began his career in 1964 as Assistant to the Vice President of Madison Square Garden. Speyer has served as President & CEO of Tishman Speyer since he formed the company together with his father-in-law Robert Tishman in 1978.
Speyer has served as chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vice chairman of the New York Presbyterian Hospital, chairman of the Museum of Modern Art, and vice chair on the Board of Trustees of the Rand Corporation. Speyer is also chair of the Executive Committee and chairman emeritus of Columbia University, chair emeritus of the Real Estate Board of New York, and past president of the Board of Trustees of the Dalton School.
Speyer sits on the board of Carnegie Hall, alongside Sanford Weill, the former chairman of Citigroup, with whom he has a close business relationship (see External Links below). His other board affiliations include Siemens AG and the Real Estate Roundtable, and have included Yankee Global Enterprises, the New York Presbyterian Foundation, Inc., and the Urban Land Institute. He is a member of the Economic Club of New York and the Council on Foreign Relations.
Speyer is also chair emeritus of the Partnership for New York City, founded by David Rockefeller.