Rosa Gumataotao Rios

Rosa Gumataotao Rios
43rd Treasurer of the United States
In office
August 6, 2009  July 8, 2016
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Anna Escobedo Cabral
Personal details
Born (1965-07-17) July 17, 1965
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Harvard University
Religion Roman Catholicism
Website Official website

Rosa "Rosie" Gumataotao Rios (born July 17, 1965) was the 43rd Treasurer of the United States.[1] She is most recently known for leading the efforts for placing a woman on U.S. currency for the first time in over a century. Treasurer Rios began pushing for the change soon after she joined the Obama Administration in 2009. Her presentation to then Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner went so well, she told CNN afterward, that she left the room convinced the cause was sailing forward.[2] Rios has said that it was during her time on the Treasury/Federal Reserve Transition Team in 2008 where the theme of Democracy during that era inspired her to pursue the concept. A graduate of Harvard University, she was recently selected by the university as the first Latina in its 380-year history to have a portrait commissioned in her honor. In May 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Rios to be Treasurer of the United States and was confirmed by the Senate unanimously in July 2009. She is the first Treasurer to have her current portfolio including oversight of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the United States Mint, Fort Knox, and Chair of the Advanced Counterfeiting Deterrence Steering Committee. She is also the first person to ever be appointed as a Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury in the areas of community development and public engagement. Her almost 4,000-employee portfolio includes eight facilities around the country with an approximately $5 billion operating budget. She resigned in July 2016.

Early life and education

Rios is the sixth of nine children born to Guadalupe Rios and raised in Hayward, CA. Guadalupe raised all nine children on her own and with the support of their church, sent all of her children to Catholic schools and off to college. All nine children worked at a young age. Rios worked full-time throughout high school at the office headquarters for the Alameda County Library System. She worked various jobs including ordering and processing books before they were sent to the branches. Rios has frequently said that she had won the lottery with this job as she had access to any book she ever wanted to read. She worked long hours, often coming home late at night and working on her homework into the early morning hours.

She graduated from Moreau High School in 1983 and went on to attend Harvard University where she graduated with high honors. She received the Dean’s award as the founder of Cultural Rhythms and is one of the few U.S. recipients of the Silver Medal Award from the Royal Society of the Arts in England, chaired by Prince Phillip. Rios was hired by General Reinsurance Corporation as a Commercial Property Underwriter to analyze risks of complex high-value commercial investments. She was based in the San Francisco office and worked for two years before pursuing her MBA at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. She continued her career in real estate finance in Silicon Valley for Blickman Turkus Commercial Real Estate until her transition to local government.

Public career

Rios was hired in 1994 by the City of San Leandro as a Development Specialist. She developed strong roots in business and government in Northern California and became an expert in economic development and redevelopment for the cities of Union City, and Fremont before moving on to Oakland in 2003 as the Director of Redevelopment and Economic Development for the City of Oakland. Although they were two separate departments, then-City Manager Robert Bobb combined the two at Rios’ request in order to recruit her from the City of Fremont.

During her tenure, Rios was credited with revitalizing the city's flagging economy by attracting hundreds of new businesses and initiating several new development projects. She became known as a "can do manager who was well liked" and garnered praise from city officials. She was also responsible for restructuring community development to bring together multiple functional departments to target specific projects areas. For the first time in Oakland's history, she successfully established a redevelopment project area in West Oakland which provided tax increment financing to eliminate economic and physical blight. She was also the lead staff member for the Downtown Revitalization Project which included a proposal for a new ballpark for the Oakland A’s baseball team as part of a mixed-use development that also included residential, commercial, and entertainment uses.

Consulting career

In 2003 Rios became a principal partner at Red River Associates, a consulting firm specializing in economic development and project management. While at Red River, she teamed with the Assistant General Manager of Infrastructure to restructure the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission in preparation for the seismic retrofit of the Hetch Hetchy water system, one of the nation’s largest capital improvement programs. Also during this time, Robert Bobb, who was now at that time was serving as the City Administrator for Washington DC, recruited Rios to assist with the recruitment of the Montreal Expos to become the Washington Nationals in 2005 including the revitalization of the Anacostia waterfront. The following year, Rios became Managing Director of Investments for MacFarlane Partners, a real estate investment firm based in San Francisco. While there, she was responsible for the firm's urban investment and development programs throughout Northern California and consulting with local municipalities. During her tenure there between 2006-2008, MacFarlane Partners grew from a $6 billion firm to a $22 billion firm.

In 2008, Rios was invited to collaborate in the efforts of the Obama campaign to secure the state of Virginia in the 2008 presidential elections. She developed a strategy using the fan base of the DC United soccer team to register Latinos in Virginia. Many have said that this was a key tipping point necessary for the victory of then-Senator Barack Obama to win the democratic vote for the first time since 1964 in his campaign to become the President of the United States. She put her skills to use in convincing Latinos in Virginia to register and then vote for the Democratic nominee. Upon the Illinois senator's victory in November, Rios was asked to be one of 23 finance professionals to join the Treasury-Federal Reserve transition team at the height of the financial crisis in 2008. This team was responsible for designing and implementing the economic stability plan on behalf of the Obama administration while the Bush administration was still in office. Rios took an official leave of absence from MacFarlane Partners.

On May 18, 2009, President Obama officially nominated Rios as the Treasurer of the United States and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 24.

Treasurer of the United States

Treasurer Rios signs her name officially at her swearing-in ceremony

Rios was sworn in on August 20, 2009. She had previously provided her first signature to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing for use on U.S. currency on August 6. In addition to the portfolio that she requested as part of the position’s new responsibilities, Rios announced that she would tailor her duties in order to help Main Street recover from the recession. At the request of Herb Allison, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Financial Stability, Rios was part of the team that created the housing programs mandated by the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act. Rios was also part of the team that implemented the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act with an emphasis on the Build America Bonds (BAB) program. Under her leadership, Rios convened and trained state and local government officials and other stakeholders on how to access and utilize Build America Bonds to fund major infrastructure projects around the country and stimulate job creation and revitalize cities and states during the economic recovery.

In July 2016, Rios stepped down as Treasurer, her last day in office being July 8, 2016.[3]


Rios is married to Jose "Joe" Diaz Gumataotao, an indigenous Chamoru native of the Marianas who is related through marriage to former Guam governor Felix Perez Camacho.[4] ("Gumataotao" is a Chamoru name of Guamanian origin.) She and Joe have two children, Joey and Brooke.

At the time of her confirmation, Rios was serving as a Trustee of the Alameda County Employees Retirement Association as well as on the boards of California Association of Local Economic Development, the Fruitvale Spanish-Speaking Unity Council and the Toigo Foundation.

She enjoys baseball and is a passionate advocate for empowering women and girls. During her time at Treasury she has established the Women in Finance Symposium, The Gallery of Historic Women in Treasury, the Treasury Nursing Lounge and is a member of the White House Council of Women and Girls.

She has publicly stated that her women and girls initiatives are in honor of her mother and her daughter Brooke.


  1. Carla Marinucci, "Obama selects Bay Area Latina as his choice for U.S. Treasurer," San Francisco Chronicle (May 15, 2009).
  2. Maya Rhodan, David Von Drehle, "Why a Woman May Not Be on the Front of the $10 Bill", TIME Magazine (April 25, 2016)
  3. Gilkes, Paul (July 25, 2016) [published online July 6]. "Rios Leaves Treasury Post". Coin World. 57 (2937). Amos Media Company. p. 4. Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  4. "New U.S. treasurer is married to Chamorro". KUAM. Aug 11, 2009.
Political offices
Preceded by
Anna Escobedo Cabral
Treasurer of the United States
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