Clayton Keith Yeutter

Clayton Keith Yeutter bigraphy, stories - Secretary of Agriculture and chairman of the Republican National Committee

Clayton Keith Yeutter : biography

December 10, 1930 –

Clayton Keith Yeutter, ONZM (born December 10, 1930) served as United States Secretary of Agriculture under President George H. W. Bush from 1989 to 1991 before serving as Counselor to the President in 1992. He served as United States Trade Representative from 1985 to 1989 and as Chairman for the Republican National Committee from 1991 until 1992. Yeutter is currently employed as a Senior Advisor at the international law firm Hogan Lovells in Washington, D.C.

Yeutter was born in Eustis, Nebraska. Yeutter is a graduate of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln from which he received a B.S., a J.D. and a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics. Yeutter later served as Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Consumer Services from 1973 to 1974, Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for International Affairs and Commodity Programs from 1974 to 1975, and Deputy Special Representative for Trade Negotiations from 1975 to 1977.

Post public service

Since February 1993 Yeutter has split his time working as a senior advisor at Hogan Lovells (formerly Hogan & Hartson L.L.P.) in Washington D.C. and holding numerous corporate directorships. In March 1997 Yeutter registered to lobby on the farm bill for the American Farmland Trust.

Corporate directorships

Yeutter’s first major corporate directorship was with ConAgra Foods while serving as the President and CEO of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. He resigned from the position in 1985 when he became U.S. Trade Representative. While serving as Chairman of the Republican National Committee Yeutter joined the boards of Caterpillar Inc. and Texas Instruments. He resigned from both positions in 1992 when he became Counselor to the President. Yeutter was reinstated to the boards of ConAgra Foods, Caterpillar Inc. and Texas Instruments in 1993 and served on all three until he hit the maximum age limit for board members.

After leaving public service in 1993 Yeutter served as the director of Danielson Holding Corporation and America First. Additionally, he served as Chairman of the Board of Oppenheimer Funds, Inc. and CropSolutions, Inc. He previously served on the board of directors of Coventa Holding Corp., Chicago Climate Exchange, FMC Corporation, B.A.T. Industries and later American Commercial Lines Inc., Covanta Holding Corporation, and Weyerhaeuser. Yeutter currently serves on the board of directors of Neogen Corporation and Burlington Capital Group. Yeutter is also an owner of the Keating Network LLC, a company designed to help small and medium sized businesses.

Family and personal life

After graduating from the University of Nebraska in 1952 Yeutter married Jeanne Vierk with whom he had four children. Vierk served as informal Chairman of the Cabinet Wives Group during the Bush Administration.

Two years after Vierk’s death in 1993, Yeutter married Cristena Bach. Bach had served in several politically appointive positions during the Reagan and Bush Administrations, including a stint on the White House staff under President Reagan. They adopted three additional children, from Russia, Kazakhstan and Guatemala. Yeutter has nine grandchildren from his first marriage.

On the night of 8 April 2012, their eldest adopted daughter Victoria ran away from home, taking a cross-country bus headed for Long Beach, California. The 15-year-old was identified by a passenger, and shortly before she reached her destination the police picked her up and returned her to her family in Maryland.


Early life and education

Yeutter was born in Eustis, Nebraska during the Nebraska Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. Despite a successful career in government and politics, Yeutter expressed a continued desire to remain close to his upbringing. As Deputy Trade Representative Yeutter stated, "I once wanted to stay in Nebraska and be a successful farmer. There are days when I get a yearning to return."Clyde H. Farnsworth, "," The New York Times, November 24, 1985.