Greenspan talks, people pay

At $100,000 per, former Fed chairman reported getting more from two speeches than his 2005 salary at central bank.

NEW YORK ( -- Alan Greenspan is still commanding attention - and $100,000 per speech - a year after leaving his position as chairman of the Federal Reserve, according to a published report.

Greenspan is commanding $100,000 for an hour-long speech, USA Today reported, citing three unidentified people whose groups have hired the former Fed chairman. The paper said that he's averaging about one speech a week, meaning that he likely earned more than $4 million in speaking fees last year after leaving office.

Who Gets Paid What
While current CEOs steer clear of cash-talking, here's a sampling of what other luminaries get paid on the lecture circuit. The data were compiled from speakers-bureau websites and industry sources.
Bill Clinton
Former President of the United States; $250,000-plus
Jack Welch
Former CEO, General Electric; $150,000
Alan Greenspan
Former chairman of the Federal Reserve; $100,000
Dana Carvey
Saturday Night Live alumnus; $75,000
Gordon Bethune
Former CEO, Continental; $50,000
Tucker Carlson
TV host and hoofer; $25,000
A handful of public-speaking agencies are soliciting work for Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Oracle's Larry Ellison. One problem: Nobody told Bezos and Ellison. Fortune's Tim Arango investigates. (more)

Greenspan earned only $180,100 as Fed chairman in 2005, his last year in office. But he was hardly pressed for cash when he left the job in January 2006. His 2005 disclosure filing showed him with assets of at least $4.2 million.

And on Sept. 17 he will have his memoir The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World published by Penguin Press. The unit of Pearson (Charts) reportedly paid him an $8.5 million advance for the book, which is believed to be the No. 2 advance for a nonfiction book, second only to the $10 million advance given to former President Bill Clinton for his memoir.

USA Today reports that he will start doing publicity for the book this summer when he is the keynote speaker at BookExpo America convention on June 1, an appearance where he will be interviewed by his wife, NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell. Fellow speakers will include celebrity Rosie O'Donnell, comedian Stephen Colbert and Princeton University economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.

While that event will be open to the public, most of Greenspan's speeches are not open to the general public or the press. But his comments, when reported, are generally seen as still able to move markets.

His comment reported on Feb. 26 that there was even a chance for a recession in the U.S. economy this year was pointed to as one of the factors that helped prompt the plunge in stocks on Feb. 27, the worst sell-off in stocks since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

On Thursday he joined the chorus of those warning about problems in the subprime mortgage market and what it might mean for housing prices and the economy.

Some Wall Street professional have even come out and said they wished that Greenspan wasn't making as many comments any more, as he seems to be more willing to take a negative view of the economy and outlook than when he was the head of the U.S. central bank.

"I'm kind of disappointed with Greenspan," Andrew Brenner, a market analyst at MAN Financial, told Reuters on Friday, the day after the subprime comments. "I find it unusual that he's been talking so much."

One other difference in his speeches now and those he gave as Fed chairman is the current talks are far less obtuse and far more humorous, according to the paper.

"He was very funny," AMR Research President Tony Friscia told the paper. His group hired Greenspan for a one-hour session at the company's conference for technology executives in November. At one point, Greenspan lamented that growing demand for corn to produce ethanol would lead to a nation of starving pigs, Friscia told the paper.

"I think of economists, and of him in particular, as kind of dry. But he was really entertaining," Friscia said..

Win a date with Alan Greenspan

The Fed's March Madness Top of page