Remembering Joseph E. Connor

Autumn 2009

Former USCIB chairman and Price Waterhouse chief led UN reform efforts

Joseph E. Connor (UN Photo/Even Schneider)
Joseph E. Connor (UN Photo/Even Schneider)

Joseph E. Connor, the former chairman of Price Waterhouse & Co., died May 6 at age 77.  Mr. Connor served as chairman of USCIB from 1988 to 1990, and he chaired of the International Chamber of Commerce for two years thereafter.  But his toughest challenge came in a “second career” in which he applied his management acumen to the daunting task of reforming the United Nations.

Abraham Katz, who was president of USCIB during Mr. Connor’s tenure, recalled: “I was impressed by his sharp mind and rapid, common-sense approach to complex issues of international economic policy, which gave a strong business perspective to the work of our organization.”

At Price Waterhouse, where he was elected chairman in 1978, Mr. Connor advocated increased oversight of the big  accounting firms that performed the lion’s share of public-company audits.  In 1988, he was elected chairman of the Price Waterhouse World Firm, which coordinated the activities of the company’s local partnerships around the globe.

Mr. Connor (second from right) met with the first President Bush at the White House prior to the 1990 G7 Summit. Also pictured are then-ICC Chairman Peter Wallenberg (far left) and USCIB President Abraham Katz.

As the UN’s undersecretary general for administration and management from 1994 to 2002, when Congressional critics frequently complained about the world body’s bloated budget,  Mr. Connor oversaw staff reductions and financial reforms.  “His private-sector experience was invaluable,” said former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, who credited Mr. Connor with introducing modern management practices.

Martin Wassell, ICC’s first director, recalled “a man of considerable moral stature, who was meticulous in fulfilling the duties he assumed and infinitely curious to understand and contribute to the solution of complex public policy problems.’

USCIB and ICC members worldwide join us in expressing our deepest sympathies to Mr. Connor’s family.

We also remember fondly:

  • Ashraf Tabani, former chairman of the International Organization of Employers, who died on July 16 in Karachi.  A pillar of the international employer community for over 30 years, serving as president of the Employers’ Federation of Pakistan and as a member of the International Labor Organization’s governing body, Mr. Tabani also held numerous top government positions within Pakistan.  He was a key player in launching the Global Compact.
  • William Seidman, who passed away May 14.  As chief financial officer of Phelps Dodge Corporation in the late 1970s and early ‘80s, Mr. Seidman served as vice chair of USCIB’s Committee on International Monetary Affairs.  He went on to head the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation during the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s.

USCIB Member News

William B. Matteson, the former chairman of Debevoise & Plimpton who has served as chairman of the Business and Industry Advisory Committee, has been elected a senior trustee of USCIB. … Mike Quinn, managing director with JPMorgan Global Trade Services, has been named to chair USCIB’s Banking Committee.  He enters this position with over 30 years experience in banking, with more than half of that time specializing in trade finance.  … Congratulations to Bill Sweeney, formerly of EDS (now part of Hewlett-Packard), who has been named president and CEO of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, a non-governmental organization that provides assistance with elections and democratic reform around the world.

New USCIB Members

We are delighted to welcome the following organizations as the newest members of USCIB:

  • Kimberly-Clark Corporation
  • North American Used Vehicle Exporters Association (NAUVEA)
  • Silicones Environmental, Health and Safety Council of North America (SEHSC)
  • Silver Nanotechnology Working Group
  • Tyco International

To learn how USCIB membership can benefit your organization, contact Alison Hoiem at (212) 703-5095 or

USCIB Staff News

Adam Greene, vice president for labor affairs and corporate responsibility, took part in a June 10 roundtable at the Department of Labor marking World Day Against Child Labor.  Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, who presided along with Senator Tom Harkin (D. – Iowa), wrote afterward: “I was impressed and energized by the knowledge, commitment and dedication exhibited during our discussion.  I am eager to move forward with a strong focus on awareness-raising and addressing the root causes of child labor.” … Justine Bareford has been promoted to the position of manager for China/APEC and European Union affairs.  She takes over from Kimberly McLaughlin, who has moved to the West Coast after five years of dedicated service.  Ms. McLaughlin’s former responsibilities for nanotechnology and health care have been added to Helen Medina’s life sciences portfolio, which also encompasses biotechnology and food/agriculture issues.


Staff Contact:   Abby Shapiro

Executive Vice President, Strategy and Business Development
Tel: 212.703.5064

Abby Shapiro is responsible for evaluating and growing new products, services and programs that provide new revenue streams to USCIB, add value to membership and support USCIB’s mission and vision.
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