John Kramer

Banker and transport adviser


John Davis Kramer, transport adviser and investment banker: born Monrovia, California 25 September 1948; Director of Policy and Planning, Illinois Department of Transportation 1973-77, Transportation Secretary 1977-84, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Chicago Regional Transportation Authority 1982-84; Chief Executive Officer, Chicago World's Fair Authority 1984-85; founder and chairman, Kramer Associates 1985-92; executive director, Goldman Sachs 1992-95; chairman and chief executive officer, CA IB Infrastructure Project Advisers 1995-99; chairman and chief executive officer, Infrastructure Capital Partners 1999-2006; married 1972 Susan Richards (one son, one daughter); died London 22 September 2006.

A leading figure in US transport planning in the 1970s and 1980s, John Kramer brought his skills, knowledge and foresight to transport infrastructure in Europe, and his campaigning instincts to supporting his wife Susan, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London in 2000 and now MP for Richmond Park.

Kramer was born in California in 1948 and studied Political Science and International Relations at Stanford, then Politics and Economics at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he met his future wife (they were married in 1972). His own politics were forged in the anti-Vietnam War movement, and in Berlin, Dresden and Prague in the revolutionary spring of 1968.

He refused the US Army draft and became involved in the environmental movement; the Highway Action Coalition that he founded ensured the passage of the 1973 Highway Act, ending the near-monopoly grip of road building on US government money. Kramer joined President Richard Nixon for the signing of the Act; he kept the pen, but was less enthusiastic about photos of himself with Nixon.

Having been recruited to Illinois in 1973 to shift the focus on transport away from roads, the 28-year-old Democrat Kramer was appointed Secretary of Transportation in 1977 by the newly elected Republican Governor, James Thompson. In the face of Republican criticism, Thompson deferred a news conference to introduce Kramer, but then named him anyway, having thought it over - "I was thinking he was the most effective transportation secretary in the nation."

Kramer had already been key to stopping plans for a highway championed by the Chicago Mayor Richard Daley that would have sliced the city in half, and negotiated for Illinois to keep the funding allocated for the project. He was determined that the money committed should remain in the community to finance public transport. It went towards two important commuter rail lines.

Kramer restructured the Illinois transportation funding systems, with new transport taxes and user charges, revenue bond financing and public-private partnership structures. The chairmanship and post of chief executive officer of the Chicago Regional Transportation Authority were added to his role, and he converted its $14.5m deficit to a $90m surplus. This was 1980s America, where the car was king, and Kramer was moving money from roads and investing in trains and buses.

With typical enthusiasm, when the Berlin Wall came down John and Susan Kramer took their children to be there. John Kramer's interest in Central and Eastern Europe had already led him to establish relationships with reform movements including Solidarity in Poland and the New Forum Movements in former East Germany and Czechoslovakia, and he advised these groups on development, transport and other infrastructure when they took over government in 1989/90. At this time he also pioneered waste-water reclamation and re-use systems in Hungary, Poland and Jamaica.

Moving to London in 1992, initially as an executive director of Goldman Sachs, Kramer made a tangible contribution to the task of creating a modern transport infrastructure that integrated Europe. He gave a lot of effort to the Central Railway rail freight project, linking the Channel Tunnel to the North of England, and served as lead banker/adviser on some of Europe's largest public-private transport projects, among them Berlin Airport, the Munich-Verona rail project and the Elb Tunnel project in Germany.

John Kramer was a big man, and especially big in spirit. Those who worked with him on political campaigns in London saw how he glowed with pride at his wife's achievements. They may have guessed that his support was in more than the practical things, though his ineptitude with a hammer ("The most feared words in the English language are 'Some self-assembly required'," he said) did not stop him being a champion at erecting poster boards. Not many realised how often handing out leaflets and knocking on doors was done on his way to or from the airport, and how much of his and Susan's consultation on a political issue might take place on a mobile in the intervals of a major negotiation.

John Kramer's family meant more to him than anything. His delight in his newly born granddaughter was very evident. His kindness and generosity to everyone could hardly be contained. Despite the pressures of work, when he arrived in London ahead of his family he spent time with Molly, the family dog, at her quarantine kennels. And always, when he met you, he would say, "Hi, great to see you" - as if you were the very person he had most wanted to see.

Sally Hamwee

Sport
Brazilian fans watch the match for third place between Brazil and Netherlands
world cup 2014Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: Dutch pile on the misery in third place playoff
Sport
Robin van Persie hands his third-place medal to a supporter
Van Persie gives bronze medal to eccentric fan moments after being handed it by Blatter
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
'Deep Breath' is Peter Capaldi's first full-length adventure as the twelfth Doctor
TVFirst episode of new series has ended up on the internet
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
Monkey business: Serkis is the king of the non-human character performance
peopleFirst Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
News
Soft power: Matthew Barzun
peopleThe US Ambassador to London, Matthew Barzun, holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence. He says it's all part of the job
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?