Illinois State Treasurer
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Alexi Giannoulias was elected to his first term as Illinois State Treasurer on Nov. 7, 2006. At the age of 30, he became the youngest State Treasurer in the nation.
Giannoulias launched the nation's largest state-backed hybrid rebate program, put the state's unclaimed property on eBay and started an innovative securities lending effort that's earning more revenue for the state.
Under his leadership the Treasurer's Bright Start College Savings Program improved from one of the worst in the nation to the best thanks to its low fees and wide investment options, according to Morningstar Inc.
Giannoulias is a leader in how to run a political office ethically. He doesn't accept contributions from his employees, banks or contractors who do business with the treasurer's office.
Now he is reforming how states can help the private sector in difficult economic times. In October 2008, Giannoulias committed $1 billion of state funds in healthy banks and credit unions to give the financial institutions more money to lend to their clients and to help shore up customer confidence. The taxpayers' money will not be at risk, and the state will earn a higher rate of return than it could in many other short-term investments.
Prior to joining public service, Giannoulias was a community banker in his hometown of Chicago. Giannoulias graduated cum laude from Boston University, earned a law degree from Tulane University's School of Law in New Orleans and also played professional basketball in Greece.