Jeffrey R. Williams
Jeffrey R. Williams became the inaugural Executive Director at the Harvard Center Shanghai in November 2010. As Executive Director, Williams is responsible for the Harvard Center Shanghai and its staff in support of Harvard’s wide range of activities in China. These include student programs, faculty research, case writing, executive education programs offered in partnership with Chinese institutions, and conferences. He works closely with Harvard Business School’s research center in Hong Kong while also building relationships with key academic, business, and government leaders in Greater China. He serves as the Center’s chief public representative by providing information about Harvard and the Center’s work to organizations in China and throughout the world.
Williams has spent most of his career in East Asia. As president of the Shenzhen Development Bank, he was the first foreigner to lead a Chinese bank since the founding of the PRC. Previously, he worked in Taiwan and Hong Kong for Citibank and as the Taiwan general manager for American Express Company and Standard Chartered Bank. Fluent in Mandarin, Williams was one of the first Americans to teach at Peking University after the resumption of diplomatic relations between China and the United States.
In China, Williams serves as an independent director or advisor to a number of companies. Having a long commitment to public service, he formerly served as chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei, chairman of Taipei American School, and is currently a trustee of the China Medical Board.
Williams graduated magna cum laude in East Asian Languages and Civilizations from Harvard College in 1978 and received his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1982. In 2003 and 2009, he was a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. An active alumnus, Williams has formerly been president of the Harvard Club of Hong Kong and president of the Harvard Club of Taiwan.