Ralph J. Gerson

Ralph J. Gerson

Ralph J. Gerson is the former Board Chairman of Guardian Industries Corp.  He now serves as the Treasurer, Investment Committee Chair and a Director of the William Davidson Foundation. Gerson is also a private investor.

From 1990 until 2011, Gerson served as Executive Vice President of Guardian Industries Corp. and President and CEO of Guardian International. Guardian manufactures float glass and a wide range of fabricated glass products for the residential and commercial construction industries. With operations in over 24 countries, the company is also a supplier of vehicle glass and exterior plastic parts for the global automotive industry.

Prior to joining Guardian, Gerson was a partner in the Washington, D.C. law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld from 1981 to 1983 and again from 1985 to 1987.  His practice was in the areas of international trade and finance and legislative law.  From 1983 to 1985, he was the Director of Commerce for the State of Michigan, a cabinet appointment.  He also served as Chairman of the Michigan Cabinet Council on Jobs and Economic Development.

From 1977 to 1980, Gerson served as Special Assistant to Ambassador Robert S. Strauss in the office of The U.S. Trade Representative, and then as Counselor to Ambassador Strauss when he was the President’s Personal Representative to the Middle East Peace Negotiations. In those positions, he worked first on the Tokyo Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations, which resulted in the Trade Agreements Act of 1979, and then, following the Camp David Accords, he worked on the Autonomy Negotiations.

Gerson received his J.D. degree in 1975 from the University of Michigan Law School, where he was an associate editor of the Michigan Law Review.  He also received a Master of Science degree from the London School of Economics in 1972, and graduated with honors from Yale University in 1971.  At Yale, he majored in economics and political science and was elected President of the Yale Political Union. It’s

Gerson currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Detroit Institute of Arts and as Vice President of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.  He is an Officer-at-Large and a Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, a Director of the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan, an International Board Member of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel and Chairman Emeritus of the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU).  He is also the Secretary and a Board Member of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a Board Member of The Henry Ford and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

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