Peter T. Grauer ’64 is an American business leader and the chairman of Bloomberg, a global financial technology company. He has been recognized extensively for his achievements and is respected and admired by his contemporaries, both in the U.S. and around the world.
Born in Philadelphia in 1945, Grauer spent a lackluster two years of high school in Philly before convincing his parents to send him to Hotchkiss. When Hotchkiss admissions insisted that Grauer repeat the 10th grade, it turned out to be a veiled opportunity. Grauer’s academics improved, and he came into his own as a person, elected as president of the Student Council and as co-captain of the football team.
The Hotchkiss faculty recognized not only Grauer’s leadership abilities but also his strong character. A March 1964 college recommendation letter referenced him as “an outstanding boy.” The letter went on to say that as president of the Student Council, he led students “to a realization of full and mature responsibility for the welfare of the School, in many cases by taking the less immediately popular course of action.”
He was further described as “unassuming, unfailingly courteous, straightforward, and loyal. At the same time, there is a toughness of fiber and a courage here … one of the finest.” Never one to lavish unearned praise, the late revered faculty member Robert Hawkins offered the following perspective: “Perhaps the most striking among this boy’s many fine qualities is his sense of humor, which is so developed as to extend himself—and that is rare among boys of his age and position in School. Perhaps it is one of the reasons for his admirable concern for others and for his delightful disposition.” These are the very qualities that would propel Grauer to unparalleled business success.
After Hotchkiss, he attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he thrived in the large state-school environment. He learned to negotiate big crowds and to focus before graduating in 1968. He then matriculated at Harvard University Graduate School of Business Program for Management Development, graduating in 1975.
He began his business career at Citibank by greeting challenges honestly and by thoroughly evaluating his skills, actions, and outputs. He learned to deal with tough times with a dose of humility and an unswerving commitment to learning and growing from every situation.
The lessons served him well. Prior to joining Bloomberg, he was a managing director of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette (DLJ) from 1992 to 2000 when DLJ was acquired by Credit Suisse First Boston. Grauer is a founder of DLJ Merchant Banking Partners and DLJ Investment Partners, and he served as a managing director and senior partner of CSFB Private Equity.
In a 2013 speech given at a Wharton Leadership Conference, Grauer said, “Good leaders know that the next big opportunity or great hire could come from anywhere, and they conduct themselves accordingly.” He explained that his legacy at Bloomberg began in a most unconventional way.
Spending his Saturday mornings at a stable in New York’s Westchester County while his young daughter took riding lessons, Grauer struck up a friendship with another father doing the same; their girls became good friends. The two fathers covered all the usual topics over many Saturday mornings, such as families, business, and sports. The other dad had started a business that was becoming successful when Grauer first met him in 1989.
The other dad’s name was Michael Bloomberg, and he told Grauer that he wanted to go into politics. (Bloomberg went on to serve as mayor of New York City.) He needed a CEO and offered the job to Grauer. Grauer became a member of the Bloomberg Board of Directors in 1996 and was named chairman of the board in March 2001, succeeding Michael Bloomberg. In 2002, he joined Bloomberg full time as chairman, president, and CEO.
It turns out that he was very qualified to run the global media and technology company, drawing on some of the skills he first practiced in Lakeville. He continues to believe that good leaders really know their colleagues and customers and relate to them on a personal level. “I want them to know that they are important to me, and they, in turn, are loyal.” He adds that you can never tell who will emerge as a leader, and he is grateful that more than once during his career someone took a chance on him when others were more qualified.
Co-founded in 1982 by Michael Bloomberg, the company—which provides financial analytics and data through the eponymous Bloomberg Terminal—has grown to more than 25,000 employees in 130 locations across the globe.
Grauer has shared his talent for business with numerous organizations for decades and has affiliations and board memberships too numerous to list. He and his wife, Laurie, give back through the Peter T. & Laura M. Grauer Foundation and are especially known for their generous philanthropy to educational institutions, community organizations, social programs, hospitals, and the arts.
Grauer is the president of the Board of Trustees of the Inner-City Scholarship Fund in New York City and a member of the Partnership for Inner-City Education Board of Directors. He serves on the World Economic Forum’s Media, Entertainment and Information, Financial Services and Gender Parity Board of Governors; is founding chairman of the Community of Chairmen at the World Economic Forum; and is a member of the British American Business International Advisory Board. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Wildlife Conservation Society and WNET Channel 13.
He is a recipient of the Peterson Business Award, the William Richardson Davie Award, the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Service to the College of Arts and Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the Papal Order of Merit. Grauer was also inducted into the North Carolina Media and Journalism Hall of Fame.
Hotchkiss Trustee Emerita and former Board President Jean Weinberg Rose ’80, P’18 said, “Peter Grauer embodies the essential characteristics and qualities with which we want our students to graduate. He is passionate about everything he does and is an inspiration to those around him. He is adored by family and friends for his great sense of humor, loyalty, and generosity of spirit. Peter is a successful and respected business leader, yet he is humble. His priorities go beyond the bottom line to the well-being of those he works with as well as the meaningful content of his company’s contributions to the community and to the world. He gives his time and expertise to make a difference in people’s lives, not for the recognition, but because it is part of his DNA.”
In reflection, Grauer notes that life’s opportunities are often unexpected—and counts Hotchkiss among his. He combined opportunity with leadership skills, hard work, and humility, and now helps run one of the world’s most successful companies.