Kenneth Dam has devoted his career to public policy issues, both as a practitioner and as a professor. In the former capacity, he served as deputy secretary, the second-ranking official, in the Department of Treasury from 2001 to 2003 and in the Department of State from 1982 to 1985. In 1973, he was executive director of the Council on Economic Policy, a White House office responsible for coordinating U.S. domestic and international economic policy. From 1971 to 1973, he served as assistant director for national security and international policy of the Office of Management and Budget. He began his Washington career as law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Charles E. Whittaker from 1957 to 1958.
Mr. Dam's entire academic career has been devoted to the University of Chicago, beginning in 1960 and extending, with various leaves of absence, to the present. From 1980 to 1982, he served as provost of the University of Chicago.
His other activities include serving as IBM vice president for law and external relations from 1985 to 1992, and as president and chief executive officer of the United Way of America for a six-month period in 1992, when he was chosen to clean up a scandal in that organization and put in place a new system of governance.
He also is a board member of the Committee for Economic Development. He is a member of the Shadow Financial Regulatory Committee. He was chairman of the German-American Academic Council and a board member of a number of nonprofit institutions, including the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations. He served for 13 years on the board of Alcoa.