Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Wall Street-Washington Revolving Door is in Overdrive

 Ben White reports:
The financial industry has long been a draw for former political operatives seeking a bigger paycheck and New York lifestyle. But with the big banks now under constant assault from reformers, regulators and some members of Congress, the flow of top talent from Washington to Wall Street has become a small flood.
Two of the biggest blue chip firms in the industry, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, will soon have top-level executives with the ear of the CEO who once occupied senior jobs in the White House and United States Treasury. Other banks including Citigroup, Credit Suisse and JPMorganChase have also staffed up with former political and regulatory officials[...]
The latest example of the DC-to-NY transfer came last month as Morgan Stanley announced it had hired Michele Davis as a managing director and global head of corporate affairs.
Davis, who served as a chief adviser to Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson (a former Goldman CEO) during the height of the financial crisis, will report directly to Tom Nides, a DC veteran and former top aide to Hillary Clinton at the State Department, and to chief executive James Gorman. In an internal memo announcing the hire, Nides and Gorman praised Davis — portrayed by Cynthia Nixon in the movie “Too Big to Fail” — for her successful career at the “nexus of political and financial media.”
Davis will essentially be Morgan Stanley’s version of Jake Siewert, managing director and head of corporate communications at Goldman Sachs.
Siewert, who served as counselor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and in multiple roles including press secretary under President Bill Clinton, has quietly helped revolutionize the way the famously secretive Goldman Sachs interacts with the public.
CEO Lloyd Blankfein is now a regular at events around Washington, including the recent Investment Company Institute gathering and a private meeting at the White House late last year. At the ICI event, Blankfein said he had “a lot of regret for not having a lot of dialogue with the public.” The firm, which until fairly recently still operated like the private partnership it once was, now has a Twitter account.
Many other high profile Wall Street firms are joining the hunt for political veterans from both Washington and New York. 
A very short list of other top political operatives now working in and around Wall Street includes: Ed Skyler, former deputy New York City mayor for operations, who is now executive vice president for global public affairs at Citigroup; Calvin Mitchell, who ran press operations for Geithner at the New York Federal Reserve and is now global co-head of corporate communications at Credit Suisse; Jennifer Zuccarelli, formerly of the Paulson Treasury department and Mark Kornblau, a veteran of multiple Democratic presidential campaigns, who both now have senior roles at JPMorganChase. Andrew Williams, a former Geithner spokesman, now works for Siewert at Goldman.
And there are many more.

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