Jack Franklin Bennett, 86, Vero Beach

Jack Franklin Bennett, 86, of Vero Beach died peacefully in Greenwich, Conn. on April 25, 2010 after a year-long battle with cancer.

He had lived in Greenwich on and off for nearly 50 years before moving to Florida. He also maintained a summer residence in York, Maine.

He was born in Macon, Georgia on January 17, 1924 to Andrew Jackson Bennett and Mary Eloise Franklin Bennett.

He graduated from Yale University in the war-shortened Class of 1945 and served as a U.S Navy Lieutenant (j.g.) on the destroyer U.S.S. Boggs in the Pacific during World War II.

He worked in post-war Germany alongside his father who, as financial advisor to the U.S. Military Commander of Germany, was the principal administrator of the Deutschemark currency reform that reignited the German economy.

On his return from Germany, he earned a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University in 1951. He later moved to Washington, D.C. where he served in the War Department, the State Department, and the Executive Office of the President, and as the Economist on two Presidential Commissions, including the Fairless Committee on Mutual Security which focused on U.S. – foreign economic policy.

In 1955, he joined the Standard Oil Company (New Jersey) and worked for its successor Exxon Corporation for over 30 years in New York, London, and Houston. From 1975 to 1989, he was Chief Financial Officer, Senior Vice President and a Director of Exxon. During his tenure at Exxon, the Company became well known for its pioneering use of various financial innovations, including bond defeasance, shelf registrations, sale of Company securities by Dutch auction and large-scale repurchases of company shares.

He also served as a Director of the Discount Corporation, the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, Philips Electronics N.V., Dean Witter Mutual Funds and Tandem Computers, Inc. From 1971 to 1975, he served at the U.S. Treasury in Washington, D.C. under Secretaries John Connolly, George Schultz and William Simon.

He succeeded Paul Volcker as Undersecretary of the Treasury for Monetary Affairs, serving in that role from 1974 to 1975. His work was instrumental to the implementation of the global movement to currency exchange systems based on floating exchange rates and the dismantling of U.S. controls over international capital flows.

He also introduced the use of Dutch auctions in the sale of U.S. Treasury securities (still used today). He was awarded the Alexander Hamilton Medal by Secretary Schulz. He was an active Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Trustee of the Committee for Economic Development, and a member of the Bilderburg Group for which he also served as Chairman of the U.S. Friends of Bilderberg.

He was a member of the University Club (New York, NY), the Stanwich Club (Greenwich, CT), the Blind Brook Club (Purchase, NY), the John’s Island Club (Vero Beach, FL) and the York Harbor Reading Room and York Golf and Tennis Club (York, Me.).

He was predeceased by his wife of 56 years, Shirley Elizabeth Goodwin of Sunderland, Mass.

He is survived by three sons and a daughter, and their spouses: Jackson Goodwin (Win) and Rosanah Bennett of Greenwich, Connecticut; Philip D. and Lisa Bennett of London, England; Hugh F. and Kim Bennett of Winchester, Mass.; and Fraser Bennett Beede and Robert Beede of Greenwich, as well as by seven grandchildren.

He will be remembered for his devotion to his family, his wonderful sense of humor and his innovative approach to business, economic and monetary issues.

He loved to play golf and horseshoes with his family and friends.

While working on his personal memoirs, he also published in 2009 a book titled Physics Doesn’t Need to be That Difficult.

Funeral arrangements are private. A memorial reception is planned for a future date.

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