Ioana Petrescu ’03 Is Youngest Member of Cabinet and First Woman Finance Minister

March 20, 2014

In March, Ioana Petrescu ’03 was sworn in as Romania’s newest finance minister. She will report to Prime Minister Victor Ponta as one of the nation’s most senior economic officials.

Petrescu graduated from Wellesley summa cum laude, having double-majored in economics and mathematics. She earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from Harvard. After earning her doctorate, she was an N.R.I. fellow at the American Enterprise Institute before taking a position as assistant professor at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy and remaining an adjunct scholar at the AEI.

A specialist on taxation and the effects of international sanctions, her publications include Entrepreneurship, Bribes, and The Taxation of Personal Income, The Humanitarian Impact of Economic Sanctions, and Rethinking Economic Sanction Success: Sanctions as Deterrents.

Petrescu joined Prime Minister Ponta’s government last year as the economic adviser in charge of negotiating with the European Commission and International Monetary Fund, and working to reform the Romanian tax system, according to the American Enterprise Institute press release.

At 34, Petrescu is the youngest Romanian in Ponta’s cabinet and, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, the first woman to serve as finance minister.

Correction: Petrescu is the first woman to serve as finance minister in Romania, not the first to since the fall of communism as a previous version of this article stated.