Robert Zellner Biography

Robert Zellner, an American commodities and bond trader, is best known as the husband of Kathleen Zellner, a renowned American attorney in the field of wrongful conviction advocacy. Despite being born into a family with a doctor and a stock-market speculator, Robert initially had little interest in business or the stock markets. However, his path took an unexpected turn when he pursued a postdoctoral fellowship in econometrics to avoid relocating to Vietnam. This decision led him to become a prominent figure in American finance and the stock markets, eventually serving as the former CEO of ‘Citicorp Futures’. Notably, Robert played a pivotal role in shaping his wife’s successful career as an attorney, as he encouraged Kathleen to study law and believed wholeheartedly in her potential. Her achievements in the field are indebted to his foresight and unwavering support.

Quick Facts

  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Kathleen Zellner
    • Children: Anne Zellner
  • CEOs
  • U.S. State: Florida

Education & Career

Robert is from Florida. His father was a doctor and had absolutely no interest in share trading or speculating, in spite of the fact that Robert’s grandfather was a speculator. Robert’s grandfather had acquired a lot of wealth through speculation back in the 1920s and the 1930s, but Robert’s father never liked the profession. The bitterness for the stock markets intensified in his family after the ‘Wall Street’ crash of 1929.

Carrying forward the tradition, Robert was never keen on venturing into speculation. Instead, he chose to be an academic. Robert grew up as a well-learned person and studied a lot of subjects, such as medicine and art. He was an English major for a while. His long list of academic accomplishments had every course but business.

This changed when one day, Robert came to know that he might have to move to Vietnam. To avoid shifting to a disturbed nation, he started to search for academic courses in America. Robert found a scheme called the ‘National Defense Education Act Title IV Fellowships’ sponsored by the ‘Department of Defense.’ The program focused on technical subjects. Robert took up the fellowship at the ‘University of Florida.’ He received his PhD at the age of 24 years.

However, he still planned to move to Vietnam. Hence, Robert began searching for a new research fellowship program. He started working for the ‘Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.’ At ‘Fed Atlanta,’ Robert got acquainted with a research fellow from ‘Duke University’ who was pursuing the same doctoral program. At that time, the ‘Duke’ doctoral fellow was writing a thesis on the federal funds market. He explained everything about the supply and demand balance issue to Robert. Back then, Robert was more interested in the commodity markets but was equally fascinated to know a different perspective of the supply and demand chain.

Robert completed his tenure in Atlanta and went back to the ‘University of Florida,’ where he completed his master’s thesis on consumer credit. After that, Robert ventured into the field of share market and business, which was an objectionable profession in his family in the past.

Later, Robert began operating as an independent speculator and eventually became the CEO of ‘CitiCorp Futures Inc.’ and ‘CitiCorp Options.’ He is the former director of the ‘Chicago Mercantile Exchange.’

Family & Personal Life

Robert is married to Kathleen Zellner, a well-known attorney known for representing murder convicts Steven Avery and Larry Eyler. They have a daughter named Anne Zellner, who is a lawyer at the firm ‘Ryley Carlock & Applewhite’ in Denver.

Kathleen had met Robert for the first time in Missouri. She had moved to Wisconsin to attend ‘Marquette University.’ Back then, she wanted to pursue history and then become a professor. She was later transferred to the ‘University of Missouri.’ Robert and Kathleen married soon after her first semester ended. In the mid-1970s, the couple moved to Canada briefly but later moved back to the US.

Robert always considered Kathleen a strong-willed lady and someone with the ability to push her opinions firmly. Hence, he suggested that being a lawyer would be an appropriate choice of career for her. Kathleen graduated from the ‘Northern Illinois University College of Law’ in 1981 and then worked for a ‘2nd District Appellate Court’ justice and several large law firms.

In one of her interviews, Kathleen mentioned that she had binge-watched the 2015 ‘Netflix’ series ‘Making a Murderer’ with Robert on their home theater and was intrigued. The series chronicled the life of Kathleen’s client, murder convict Steven Avery.

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