Howard P. Milstein is Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of New York Private Bank & Trust and its operating bank, Emigrant Bank (the country’s largest privately owned, family-run bank). He also chairs and operates the Milstein family’s real estate companies, including Milstein Properties, Milford Management, and Milstein Brothers Real Estate. Howard is founding Chairman of the merchant bank FriedbergMilstein.
Howard is an entrepreneur and innovator, leading successful businesses across a range of sectors, including real estate, banking, hospitality, marketing, finance and technology.
The list of Howard’s notable entrepreneurial ventures is extensive. In his career he played an instrumental role in reviving the New York City theater district with the development of the Milford Plaza Hotel, challenged a cable monopoly when he created Liberty Cable, spearheaded a reform and reorganization of the building management business, and built Douglas Elliman into the city’s leading management and sales brokerage firm. More recently, he has led the way in Internet banking and partnered with legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus to help the Nicklaus Companies dramatically extend its global brand and platform.
Howard translates his entrepreneurial approach in business to leadership of a range of communal, educational and civic organizations. Using vision and a rare degree of creativity, he solves business, nonprofit and civic problems around the world. In so doing, he carries on a venerable family tradition of pioneering in business and leading great charitable institutions.
Central to the initiatives he leads are the objectives of improving global health, national security, learning and economic prosperity. He is particularly active in the fields of medical research and healthcare delivery and also dedicates time and significant support to higher education, disaster relief, the arts, communal giving, and law enforcement and counterterrorism programs.
In the field of medical research and healthcare, Howard serves as the Chairman of the Board of the American Skin Association, sharpening the organization’s focus on melanoma and other cancers. He funds the annual Milstein Research Scholars Awards and the Milstein Innovation Awards in skin research. Howard also serves on the Board of the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation. In 2011, the Milstein Medical Asian American Partnership Foundation (MMAAP Foundation) was created by Howard and Abby Milstein and the Paul Milstein Family, to contribute to world health by developing mutually beneficial partnerships between the United States and China, as well as greater Asia. The Foundation funds fellowships and project awards that bring together top medical talent in the United States and Asia to make progress in several fields, including geriatrics, dermatology, translational medicine, reproductive medicine, and hematology. Howard is former Chairman of the New York Blood Center and provided decades of visionary leadership, including the founding of the National Cord Blood Program, which was the first and largest public cord blood bank in the world. As former Chairman of the Jones Foundation for Reproductive Medicine, Howard provided leadership and channeled important resources to reproductive health research.
At Cornell University, Howard is Trustee and Presidential Counselor and Overseer, Cornell Medical College. He serves on the Executive Committee of the Dean’s Advisory Board of Harvard Law School. Howard serves on the Boards of the United Hospital Foundation and National September 11 Memorial & Museum.
Education and fostering environments of opportunity have always been of the utmost importance to Howard and his wife, Abby, who continue a decades-long tradition of family support for the capital needs of the New York Public Library and leadership. Most recently, the Milstein family announced at $20 million gift to Cornell University to establish the Milstein Program in Technology and Humanity. The ground-breaking program will enable students to have a distinctive educational experience, with a new Technology and Humanities integration initiative.
Howard is a civic-minded leader who believes the private sector has a duty to carry out the unfinished business of American capitalism by complementing government with efficiency, effectiveness and an entrepreneurial spirit. In 2011, Howard was selected by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to serve as the Chairman of the New York State Thruway Authority. The New York State Senate unanimously confirmed Howard’s appointment in June 2011. Howard’s leadership of the procurement process for the new Tappan Zee Bridge replacement resulted in a cost savings to taxpayers of $2 billion versus original estimates. To recognize that achievement, Howard received the Regional Plan Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013 and President Barack Obama hailed the project as “a model for infrastructure projects nationwide.”
Howard has served as a member of the Board of the Economic Club of New York and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Real Estate Board of New York. He is a member of the Real Estate Forum of the Columbia University Business School and the Real Estate Roundtable, and serves on the Columbia M.B.A. Real Estate Program Advisory Board. In May 2015, Howard was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.
In October 2016, the China Association for International Exchange of Personnel presented Howard with the prestigious Marco Polo Award, the highest honor given to a non-Chinese citizen. In April 2014, Howard received the Insignia of Chevalier in France’s Legion of Honor in recognition of his personal commitment to French-American cooperation and friendship, and fostering the French-American partnership in cultural and economic areas.
Other honors include recognition by New York Blood Center (NYBC) as the first individual inductee to NYBC’s Hall of Fame in November 2015 and by the United Hospital Fund with the Health Care Leadership Award in October 2015. In addition, Howard was recognized with the Community Builder Award from Phipps Houses, Humanitarian Award from the American Skin Association, JASA Man of the Year Award, Make a Wish Foundation Award, ORT Community Builder Award, Tanenbaum Center Corporate Bridge Builder Award, awards from the Jewish National Fund and B’nai B’rith Youth Services, the Catholic Youth Organization Gold Medal Award, Emerald Isle Immigration Society Robert Briscoe Award, Federal Law Enforcement Foundation Humanitarian Award, and Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce Community Service Award. In March 2012, Howard was sworn in as an honorary FDNY Battalion Chief, in recognition of his significant support for the Fire Department and the people of New York.
A graduate of Cornell University, Howard earned a B.A. in Economics summa cum laude (1973). In 2008, Howard was honored as the Entrepreneur of the Year by Cornell University. At Harvard University, he earned both his Law and Business degrees in the JD/MBA Program (1977). He was admitted to the New York State Bar, and is a member of the Federal Bar Council and the American, New York State and New York City Bar Associations.
Howard is the elder son of the late Irma Milstein, who was an active philanthropist along with her husband Paul Milstein, the legendary businessman and real estate developer. Howard is married to Abby Sniderman Milstein and they have a son, Michael.