Hank Paulson

post lehman brothers

2008: U.S. Secretary of the Treasury

Paulson became Secretary of the Treasury under George W. Bush in July 2006, after working at Goldman Sachs (GS) as CEO. Paulson was seen as the key visionary behind a plan to use government funds to buy up troubled mortgages from the banks. He helped push the so-called Paulson Plan through Congress and also worked behind the scenes to help JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Bank of Americ (BAC)a take over weaker rivals.

But the Paulson Plan was ultimately scrapped. Government funds were instead used to prop up most of the nation's banks through the controversial Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.

Now: chairman, Paulson Institute

Paulson founded his eponymous think tank in 2011. According to the non-profit's website, it is dedicated to promoting sustainable economic growth and environmental preservation in the US and China.

Related: Paulson on why Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are still a big threat

He's also been promoting a new release of his memoir about the financial crisis and has been publicly defending his work during that time.

First published September 17, 2013: 2:37 PM ET