White House Chief of Staff | Carter Administration
Jack Watson is a lawyer whose career spans service in law, government and business. He was Chief Legal Strategist of Monsanto Corporation from January 1998 to June 2000, and prior to that was a senior partner in the Atlanta-based law firm of Long, Aldridge & Norman, where he was the firm’s senior commercial trial lawyer, managing partner of the firm’s litigation section, and, from 1993 to 1938, managing partner of the firm’s Washington D.C. office. Earlier in his legal career, he was an associate and partner in the Atlanta-based law firm of King & Spalding,
In 1976, Mr. Watson headed the Carter-Mondale Policy Planning Group and, following the election, directed the Carter Transition Team during the transition of government from President Ford to President Carter. In the Carter Administration, he served as Assistant to the President for Intergovemmental Affairs, Secretary to the Cabinet, and White House Chief of Staff. He chaired the President’s Interagency Coordinating Council created by Executive Order in 1978 to coordinate implementation of the President’s domestic policy. In 1980, he directed the transition of government from President Carter to President Reagan.
Since his service in the White House under President Carter, Mr. Watson has served as an advisor to foreign leaders in Africa, South America and Indonesia on a range of governmental and public policy issues. He has also served on the boards of numerous governmental and charitable organizations, including the Metropolitan Atlanta Mental Health Association; the Georgia Department of Human Resources; the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute in Hyde Park, New York; and the Piedmont Environmental Council in Virginia. He served on the Commission of the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. from 2002 to 2014 and as Chair of the Commission from 2009 to 2014.
Mr. Watson attended Vanderbilt University on a Naval ROTC scholarship and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. He holds his law degree from Harvard Law School, Between college and law school, he served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps as a Pathfinder and Reconnaissance Team Leader, First Force Reconnaissance Company, and left the Marine Corps with the rank of Captain.