Péter Medgyessy was born in Budapest on 19 October 1942. His family comes from Transylvania (now part of Romania), and his father was a clerk at the county hall in Kolozsvár (Cluj). He graduated from the University of Budapest in theoretical economics in 1996, and later obtained his Ph.D. from the same university. Aside from his service in government, which began in 1966, Medgyessy also put his financial skills to work in the private sector. From 1990–94, he was chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Magyar Paribas Bank, and from 1994–96 he served as chairman and CEO of the Hungarian Bank for Investment and Development. He served as chairman of the Board of Directors of the Inter-Europa Bank and as vice-president of Atlasz Insurance Company from 1998–2001. He was a professor at the College of Finance and Accounting in Budapest as well. He received the French decoration Légion d'Honneur in 2000. He is fluent in French and Romanian, and has good working knowledge of English and Russian. He is married to Katalin Csaplár, and they have two children, a daughter and son. He enjoys nature and music.