Raymond J. McGuire '75 is an investment banker and one of the most senior Black executives on Wall Street. Last fall, he left his tremendously successful career and his position as Citi's vice chairman and chairman of the global banking, capital markets and advisory business to announce his plan to run for mayor of New York City.
He was raised in Dayton, OH, by his single mother, Wiletha McGuire, a social worker, and his grandparents. "They had migrated from Georgia to escape the injustice and terror of Jim Crow, and worked tirelessly to give my two brothers and me every opportunity. All three believed deeply in helping others, and at any given time, we shared our home with five to eight foster siblings."
From his mother and grandparents, McGuire learned the importance of hard work. Early on, he also learned something else that has stayed with him - the significance that education can have in one's life. A fifth-grade teacher recognized his strong academic ability, which led to an opportunity for him to attend a better school through a partial scholarship; his family sacrificed and borrowed the rest of the money to make it possible. He went on to do very well in his first few years of high school. One day, a teacher issued him a challenge, suggesting that he try and compete with students at one of the elite East Coast boarding schools. McGuire rose to the occasion, and at age 16, found himself alone on a bus heading to Connecticut and Hotchkiss.
After Hotchkiss, he matriculated at Harvard, receiving his A.B., cum laude, from the College in 1979, and then his M.B.A. and J.D. from the Harvard Business and Harvard Law Schools, respectively. McGuire has been known to speak humorously of being a member of 4H: Hotchkiss and triple Harvard. He started his financial career in 1984 in the mergers & acquisitions group of The First Boston Corporation, before serving as one of the original members of Wasserstein Perella & Co., Inc., where he became a partner/managing director in 1991.
McGuire landed jobs as the global co-head of mergers & acquisitions at Morgan Stanley and managing director in the mergers and acquisitions group of Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., prior to joining Citi, where he served 13 years as global head of corporate and investment banking. He was appointed to his most recent position in 2018. Under his leadership, Citi leveraged its global network to meet the investment banking needs of multinational and sovereign clients. He personally advised on transactions across global industries and geographies valued at $600 billion-plus, including Time Warner/AT&T (the fifth-largest transaction in history).
His undeniable success on Wall Street and background in finance have earned him the respect of his contemporaries, municipal and community leaders, and everyday people, who have joined together to enthusiastically support his bid for mayor. McGuire's life as a Black man "whose journey began at the bottom" gives him the perspective to understand the plethora of complicated issues being debated, and he draws on his business experience to form plausible plans to save his beloved city. "We need new solutions and fresh ideas to reform educational systems in low-income and minority neighborhoods, better health care and housing options in those communities, and ways to find substantive and sustainable opportunities for all. This city is a big, complex business that is failing right now. It needs a chief executive who has a vision, who knows how to spark growth, revive the economy, attract the best talent, and get this city back to work."
Shortly before McGuire left Citi to pursue his candidacy, he wrote the introduction for the September 2020 Citi GPS (Global Perspectives and Solutions) report by global economists Dana M. Peterson and Catherine L. Mann, titled Closing the Racial Inequality Gap - The Economic Cost of Black Inequality in the U.S., which accompanied Citi and the Citi Foundation's announcement that it would give more than $1 billion to strategic initiatives to help close racial gaps. McGuire pointedly explains the importance of equity through objective cost examination by framing the issue through an economic lens. He said, "The analysis in the report that follows shows that if four key racial gaps for Blacks - wages, education, housing, and investment - were closed 20 years ago, $16 trillion could have been added to the U.S. economy. And if the gaps are closed today, $5 trillion can be added to the U.S. GDP over the next five years." To further his point, he highlights the overall costs of longstanding discrimination against minority groups by quoting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s letter from a Birmingham jail: "We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." In this introduction, McGuire also addresses the devastation for Blacks and other people of color who are bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 virus at a disproportionately high rate due to systemic health and social inequities.
Drawn to New York City as a young man, McGuire faced the struggles common for many. "I couldn't afford a place to live, but a friend's parents let me stay at their apartment while they were away. They didn't charge me, but I had to pay all the utilities so, needless to say, I spent a lot of time with the lights off." He was an outsider as a resident and even more so on Wall Street. His perseverance paid off, and he found great success professionally, while always remembering his roots. "I was reminded of what my mother and grandparents would say to me-that I had to work twice as hard to be considered half as good. I was one of the first but, since then, I have made sure I was never the only."
Though this is McGuire's first run for public office, he has been serving his city for decades, supporting community organizations and social programs, hospitals, educational institutions, and the arts. His many affiliations and board service include the American Museum of Natural History; Citi Foundation; De La Salle Academy; Greentree Foundation; New York City Police Foundation; New York-Presbyterian Hospital; New York Public Library; Skadden Foundation, Studio Museum in Harlem, Terra Foundation for American Art; and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
The recipient of recognition from many of the institutions he has served, McGuire received the Theodore Roosevelt Award from the Legal Aid Society, the John C. Whitehead Social Enterprise Award from Harvard Business School Club NY, the Public Service Award from Big Brothers, Big Sisters, the Trailblazer Award from the MBBA (Metropolitan Black Bar Association), the Humanitarian Leadership Award from the CUP (Council of Urban Professionals) and the Frederick Douglass Award from the New York Urban League. He was inducted by Morehouse College as one of the inaugural members of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Board of Renaissance Leaders, and recognized by Black Enterprise Magazine as one of the "100 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America." Emblematic of his commitment to his community and its people, McGuire has been honored by New York Needs You, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Studio in a School, and the National CARES Mentoring Movement.
Known for his remarkable ability to connect with people from all walks of life, McGuire stands ready to tackle perhaps New York City's biggest challenge yet-the journey to recovery. This begins with restoring the health of the economy through his Comeback Plan, which focuses in large part on the creation of good jobs, targeted job training, and immediate support for small businesses. A major and badly needed infrastructure plan will help provide some of these employment opportunities by the rebuilding of roads and bridges, improvements to the subway system, and the renovation and building of new affordable housing for the City's residents. The Plan has additional priorities, including affordable childcare and enhanced early childhood education. The 2021 New York City Mayoral election will consist of Democratic and Republican primaries on June 22, 2021, followed by a general election on November 2, 2021.
McGuire has said this of his time at Hotchkiss: "I marvel at the rare strength of a place like Hotchkiss. It fostered diversity, encouraged us to achieve academic and sometimes athletic excellence; yet it allowed us to learn from each other and to make some lifelong friends. It is all too obvious to me that without Hotchkiss, my education as a student and as a man would have suffered. I will always feel a great indebtedness to the School and an enormous affection for the Hotchkiss family." First elected to the Hotchkiss Board of Trustees in 1985, and the first African American to serve in this capacity, McGuire is currently on leave from his second trustee term to focus on serving a much broader constituency - the people of New York City.
To read the specifics of The McGuire Comeback Plan, visit: RayforMayor.com