Knighthood for Fed's Greenspan

CNN | September 26, 2002

LONDON, England (CNN) -- U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has received an honorary knighthood from Britain's Queen Elizabeth II.

The honour, recommended by the UK Foreign Office and approved by the Queen in August, is in recognition of Greenspan's "contribution to global economic stability."

Greenspan, 76, has been dubbed the second most powerful man in America and has steered the country's economy through four presidencies.

"It's a very unusual day for an economist," he said, as he received the knighthood at the queen's Balmoral estate in the Scottish Highlands.

"I am deeply appreciative of this honour which I shall always cherish," he said.

He joked with the Queen and her husband, Prince Philip, saying he was tired because the "British Government put me to work yesterday."

He arrived in London on Wednesday and made a series of speeches to business leaders and dignitaries at both the Treasury and the Bank of England about the impact of the euro.

London was still at the "top of the financial pyramid" with New York, he said, despite predictions that foreign exchange trading would shift to the Continent following the introduction of the euro.

Greenspan was honoured by the Governor of the Bank of England, Sir Edward George, and British Chancellor Gordon Brown at a dinner on Wednesday night.

Greenspan cannot call himself "Sir" since he is not a UK citizen.

However, he will be able to add the letters KBE -- which stand for Knight Commander of the British Empire -- after his name.

It is an honour shared by former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, former U.S. President George Bush, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, entertainer Bob Hope and U.S. Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf.

Greenspan was decorated with the prestigious French Legion of Honour (Commander) in 2000.

He has also received honorary degrees from Harvard, Yale, Pennsylvania, Leuven (Belgium), Notre Dame, Wake Forest and Colgate universities.

The son of a stockbroker and a retail worker, he took up his current post in 1987 and has kept his position through the presidencies of Reagan, Bush senior, Clinton and Bush junior.

His fourth term as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board ends in 2004.