Stephen Robert is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has chaired several study groups for that organization. He was chancellor of Brown University from 1998 to 2007 and has been a trustee or fellow of the Corporation of Brown University since 1984. He is a trustee of the New York Presbyterian Medical Center and a former board member of the New York Philharmonic and of Thirteen/WNET. Robert is also a member of the Foreign Policy Program Leadership Committee (PLC) at The Brookings Institution, a director on the International Board of the U.S./Middle East Project, and a member of the Investment Committee of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.
He and his wife, Pilar Crespi Robert, are the founders of The Source of Hope Foundation. Its philanthropic mission is to aid desperate populations, particularly in providing food, water, health care, education, and micro finance opportunities. To date, the Foundation’s activities have been primarily in sub-Saharan Africa, Haiti, and New York City. Robert is a director of Millennium Promise, a humanitarian aid organization with extensive activities in Africa.
Robert joined Oppenheimer & Co. in 1968 as a portfolio manager of the Oppenheimer Fund. In 1979, he became president of the firm and in 1983, assumed the role of chairman and CEO. In March of 1986, he became the principal owner of Oppenheimer through a management buyout. He resigned from the firm in 1997, after selling it to the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. From 2005 to 2008 he served as chairman and CEO of Renaissance Institutional Management LLC. Robert is a member of the Board of the NEXAR Capital Group and a former director of the Xerox Corp and of the NAC Reinsurance Corporation.