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Robert Adam Mosbacher, Sr. (born March 11, 1927) is a U.S.marker businessman and accomplished yacht racer. He was U.S. Secretary of Commerce from 1989 to 1992.

Born in Mount Vernon, New Yorkmarker to Emil Mosbacher and Gertrude Schwart Mosbacher, his father was a wealthy stock trader who cashed in most of his holdings before Wall Street crashed, so the family did not suffer during the Depression.

Robert Mosbacher prepped at Choate School in Wallingford, CT. He then went on to Washington & Lee Universitymarker in Virginiamarker where he graduated in 1947 with a degree in business administration. After graduation, he went to Texas where his father had some oil investments and entered the oil business himself.

In 1954 he found a million-dollar field of natural gas in south Texas. Since then, Mosbacher Energy Company has been very successful. His accumulated wealth and political connections have kept the Mosbacher family as one of Houston's wealthiest and well-known in the affluent River Oaksmarker neighborhood of Houstonmarker, Texasmarker.

He was a charter member and past Chairman of the All American Wildcatters Association.

Served on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the American Petroleum Institute.

A former Director of Texas Commerce Bank and also of New York Life Insurance Company.

Also a former President of the American Association of Petroleum Landmen.

Former Chairman of the Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association.

In 1989, Mosbacher received an honorary doctoral degree from the University of Houstonmarker.

He is Trustee Emeritus of the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies.

He also President of the Board of Odyssey Academy, a public charter school located on the island of Galveston, Texas.

His son, Robert Mosbacher Jr., is also a Houston businessman and Republican politician. Robert Mosbacher Jr. is also a political appointee in the George W. Bush Administration. Mosbacher Jr. is the head of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, a US government agency designed to assist economic growth by utilizing the private sector.

Sailing career

Won the Southern Ocean Racing Conference championship in 1958.

Also won the Mallory Cup in 1958.

Appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated on May 18, 1959 with brother Bus Mosbacher for feature article titled "Kings of the Class-Boat Sailors".

Won Gold Medal in World Championships Dragon class in 1969 at Palma de Mallorca.

Won Gold Medal in World Championships Soling class in 1971 in Bay, Australia. (This was the year that third place finisher, Paul Bert Elvstrøm, started the trend of dropping the crew over the side in what is called drop hiking.)

Won Silver Medal in World Championships Dragon class in 1967 in Toronto.

Lost to Buddy Melges in the 1972 Olympic Trials (Soling class) in San Francisco Bay. Buddy Melges went on to win the Gold Medal in the Soling Classmarker at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Germany.

Won Bronze Medal in World Championships 5.5 metre class in 1985 at Newport Beach

Won the Scandinavian Gold Cup for 5.5 metre yachts in 1988.

Described in Stuart H. Walker's book Advanced Racing Tactics as a keenly competitive racer "unwilling to settle for second."

Participated in an epic semi-final match race against Ted Turner in the Mallory Cup in 1960. On the final windward leg, Mosbacher was slightly ahead. Ted Turner attempted to force Mosbacher into a mistake by executing a grueling tacking duel. The windward leg involved an incredible fifty-two tacks. In the end, Mosbacher won by five seconds.

Political career

Robert Adam Mosbacher shaking hands with Boris Yeltsin

Mosbacher was Finance Chairman for the 1988 U.S. Presidential Campaign of George H. W. Bush.

Prior to this, Mosbacher headed the fund-raising effort for George H. W. Bush in his losing Senate campaign against Lloyd M. Bentsen in 1970 and again in Bush's campaigns for President in 1980 and 1988.

He was also finance chairman for President Gerald R. Ford in his election bid in 1976.

As U.S. Secretary of Commerce, he was the principal Cabinet official responsible for initiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). He was a strong proponent of the agreement, which created the largest unified market in the world. The agreement was not signed into law in the U.S. until December 8, 1993, during the administration of President Bill Clinton. The agreement went into effect on January 1, 1994.

He served as a Director of the Center for Strategy and International Studies.

He was also a Member of President Reagan's Task Force on Private Sector Initiatives 1981-1983, and Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholarsmarker. He then became Secretary of Commerce in 1989 after he directed the George H. W. Bush 1988 Presidential Election Campaign.

He was the general chairman of John McCain's bid for the White House.


He has also been referenced in the television show "The Simpsons" episode "Two Bad Neighbors."


Brother of Emil (Bus) Mosbacher Jr., who successfully defended the America's Cup as skipper of the Weatherly in 1962 and again in 1967 as skipper of the Intrepid.

Four children with first wife, Jane Pennybacker:Diane "Dee" Mosbacher, Robert Mosbacher Jr., Kathryn Mosbacher, Lisa Mosbacher Mears


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