David A. Lipton was on a state champion Wayland High wrestling team, went on to serve his country during a career in economic and financial diplomacy and will now be inducted into the Massachusetts chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
David A. Lipton grew up in Wayland, Massachusetts in the 1960s, in a family that moved to town for its outstanding public schools and vibrant and varied community and was brought up to value public service.
Too small for football and unable to hit a fastball, Lipton found his place in sports when coach Eric Moyer came to town and suggested he join the wrestling team. After a tough freshman year, Lipton started to win matches just as his team started on a long win streak.
Lipton ended up a strong contributor on a championship team that included several star teammates now in the school’s Wrestling Hall of Fame. He won two sectional tournaments and placed third in the state tournament in his senior year. His proudest wrestling accomplishment was serving as co-captain his junior and senior years on a team which finished with a record of 47 consecutive dual meet wins and a co-state championship with Lowell in an era with no divisions by school size.
In college at Wesleyan and graduate school at Harvard, Lipton decided to focus on international economics and try to make a career in economic and financial diplomacy. His first professional experience was as an economist at the International Monetary Fund, where he spent eight years in the 1980s learning how to stabilize economies in financial trouble and how to negotiate loans and programs of support.
In 1984, Lipton married Susan Galbraith on Nantucket and started a family in Washington D.C., eventually with two daughters and a son.
When a grad school friend, Jeffrey Sachs, asked Lipton to join him in advising Latin American and Central European countries, he joined the IMF in 1989 to do so just as the Berlin Wall was falling. Over four years, Sachs and Lipton advised Poland and other countries helping them stabilize their economies and convert to market economies. With a few seminal articles, they also spawned a new sub-field widely taught in universities and colleges, Transition Economics, about how communist countries should best reform.
When Bill Clinton was elected, another grad school friend, Larry Summers, who has since referred to Lipton d as his “country doctor,” asked him to come to work for him at the US Treasury Department. Over five years there, he supervised the Treasury’s support for Eastern Europe and Russia, worked on the US rescue operation for Mexico, and participated in the Dayton Peace Talks which ended the war in Bosnia. Eventually rising to be UnderSecretary for International Affairs, he supervised the Treasury’s effort to contend with the Asian and Russian Financial Crises in 1997-98.
After eight years in private financial institutions — at a hedge fund and later at Citigroup — Lipton returned to public service at the beginning of the Obama administration. Joining the National Economic and National Security Council staff, he served for 2 ½ years as Special Assistant to the President, and covered all international economic issues, including preparing the President for Summits of Heads of State with the G7 and G20 groups of countries. Much of his time in the Administration was spent responding to the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, negotiating financing and policy support from key partner countries to restore global confidence and re-establish sound and healthy banks around the globe.
Lipton left the U.S. Administration in 2011, when Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, asked him to come back where he had started and serve as her No. 2 there. They have worked together for six years to promote global economic growth and financial stability, managing a large and talented staff and oversee about one trillion dollars the IMF has at its disposal to lend if any of its 189 member countries needs financial and economic support.
During his term of service, the IMF has provided financial support and offered advice to European countries affected by crisis, helped support and finance stabilization efforts in Egypt and Ukraine, and promoted capacity development in low income countries.
Now, after a long career in public service, Lipton recalls that his wrestling experience with Rick Moyer and his high school teammates taught him about hard work and accomplishment, about teamwork and leadership, and about how to compete but also have fun along the way. Those were the formative lessons that helped give him the confidence and determination always to shoot high.
Last Summer, David and Susan’s oldest daughter Anna and her husband Parker delighted them with the birth of their first grandson. Their other two kids, Sasha and Gabriel are off to strong starts on their lives and careers after leaving home.
And despite 37 years in Washington DC, Lipton remains a fan of the Sox, the Pats and the Celtics.
NOTE: David Lipton will be inducted into the Massachusetts chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame during a ceremony on April 7 at the Putnam Club at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. Lipton is the Outstanding American inductee among six inductees in the class of 2018. There will be a social from 5-6 p.m. followed by a dinner at 7 p.m. For tickets contact treasure Rene Canezin at 617-721-9697 or NWHOF.MA@gmail.com or at https://ma-nwhof.ticketleap.com.