Former Secretary of Treasury joins Square's board

Faith Merino · June 22, 2011 · Short URL:

Larry Summers was Chief Economic Advisor to President Obama and former U.S. Secretary of Treasury

So, it’s looking more and more like Jack Dorsey’s new startup Square is kind of a big deal. In addition to raising $37.5 million (and reportedly raising another $50 million for a $2 billion valuation), the company also sports an all-star cast of investors, advisors, and directors, including Vinod Khosla and formerly Gideon Yu. And on Wednesday, the company announced the latest addition to its board of directors: none other than former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and Chief Economic Advisor to President Obama, Larry Summers.

For those who like to dabble in politics at the kitchen table, you may remember that Summers was named Secretary of the Treasury in 1999, under the Clinton administration, where he served until 2001. Following his stint at the White House, Summers was named the 27th President of Harvard University, in which capacity he served from 2001 to 2006 (making him the president that ran Harvard when a young, vivacious Mark Zuckerberg was cobbling together “The Facebook”).

His time at Harvard was somewhat conflicted, however, and he didn’t make any friends when he infamously remarked in a 2005 speech that women are underrepresented in the science fields due to an inherent lack of aptitude for the sciences. Summers was criticized for the remark and repeatedly apologized, but some speculated that the criticism played a role in Summers’ resignation from his position in 2006.

But a lil’ sexism never hurt anybody, and Summers was back up and running in 2009, when he was tapped for the role of Chief Economic Advisor to President Obama. He is also currently a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

“We are proud to have Larry join our board and we welcome his insight and decades of leadership to our growing company,” said Square CEO Jack Dorsey in a statement. “Square is at a key point in our trajectory and we know Larry will contribute tremendous wisdom and expertise toward our continued success.”

 Square has been quickly rising in the ranks since its founding in late 2009 and its public debut in early 2010. Its innovative system for allowing users to accept payments via credit card by turn their iPhone or iPad into a credit-card swiper has drawn interest from investors such as Digg’s Kevin Rose, Google’s Marissa Meyer, Foursquare’s Dennis Crowley, Ron Conway, Esther Dyson, Sequoia Capital, and, of course, Khosla Ventures. 

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