Square adds former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers to board

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Square, the mobile payments start-up from Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, has added former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers to its board of directors.

Until late last year, Summers served as President Obama’s chief economic advisor. He was also the president of Harvard University from 2001 to 2006 -- while Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was a student.


The San Francisco-based payments processor -- known for its small, white, cubed credit card readers that plug into the headphone jacks of smart phones and tablets in place of a register -- added an extra seat to its board for Summers.

‘We are proud to have Larry join our board and we welcome his insight and decades of leadership to our growing company,’ Dorsey said in an emailed statement. ‘Square is at a key point in our trajectory and we know Larry will contribute tremendous wisdom and expertise toward our continued success.’

Square announced the move on Wednesday morning. Summers was the Treasury secretary from 1999 to 2001, deputy secretary from 1995 to 1999 and a chief economist at the World Bank from 1991 to 1993.

Summers is also known for a 2005 speech, made while he was Harvard’s president, in which he said, according to a Boston Globe article on the remarks: ‘Innate differences between men and women might be one reason fewer women succeed in science and math careers.’ He also questioned ‘how much of a role discrimination plays in the dearth of female professors in science and engineering at elite universities.’ Summers later apologized for the comments.

The addition of Summers to Square’s board follows the addition of Vinod Khosla as a director earlier this month, as well as an investment from Visa in April. Khosla, a longtime Square investor, runs his own venture capital firm and was one of the founders of Sun Microsystems.

The addition of Summers and Khlosa comes at an important time for Square. The company has shipped out more than 500,000 of its Square card readers, while ringing up more than $3 million worth of mobile payments a day.


Square is also pushing its new Card Case mobile wallet service, which has a deep-pocket challenger in Google’s Google Wallet.


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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles


Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers accepts the World Economy Prize in Kiel, Germany, on June 18. Credit: Markus Scholz / EPA