From Private Equity to Public Servants

The revolving door between politics and private equity has typically been dominated by public servants becoming private-sector millionaires. Over the past few months, however, it seems to have reversed course.

Yesterday, The Department of Energy yesterday named Jonathan Silver, a former managing director with Core Capital Partners, as executive director of the DoE’s loan program. This came just hours after President Obama said that he will nominate Joshua Gotbaum, an operating partner with Blue Wolf Capital Management, to be director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.

What follows is a list of other private equity pros who have taken government jobs since Obama took office this past January:

Jeffrey Goldstein: A managing director with Hellman & Friedman since 2005, Goldstein left over the summer to become Traeasury’s undersecretary for domestic finance. Prior to joining Hellman & Friedman, Goldstein spent five years as managing director of The World Bank.

Matthew Kabaker: A managing director with The Blackstone Group, Kabaker was one of Tim Geithner’s first hires as a senior advisor. Kabaker had joined Blackstone in 1998, and served on the boards of portfolio companies Alliant Insurance, Ariel Re, TRW Automotive, FGIC, HealthMarkets and Michaels Stores. At the time of his hiring, sources said that Kabaker’s experience with financial institutions made him particularly qualified to help handle the TARP and toxic asset programs.

Karen Gordon Mills: The former president of MMP Group and co-founder of Solera Capital, Mills was named administrator of the Small Business Association in April.

Julius Genachowski: Nominated by Obama as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Genachowski previously had been running LaunchBox Digital, a Washington, DC-based early-stage investment firm and consultancy. He also served as a special advisor to General Atlantic, a managing director of Rock Creek Ventures and is the former chief of business operations for IAC.

Nick Sinai: In August, Sinai became energy and environmental director at the Federal Communications Commission. He had been a principal with Tenaya Capital since January 2008. Before that, he spent three years as a senior associate with Polaris Venture Partners, and was a board observer for LogMeIn, SiOnyx, Mintera and Infinite Power Solutions. He also served as interim VP of corporate development for Polaris portfolio company GreenFuel Technologies.

Mohit Kaushal: Also recently left Polaris Venture Partners for the FCC, where he is leading its digital healthcare initiative.

Jason Tepperman: A private equity pro who spent the past seven years with Baker Capital, Tepperman recently began work in the Office of Financial Stability’s chief investment officer.

David Danielson: A former venture capitalist with General Catalyst Partners, Danielson left over the summer to become an administrator on the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E). The program created by Congress in 2007 to support transformational energy research project, kind of like what DARPA does for the Department of Defense, but with a much larger and more collaborative “client” base. Pruior to joining GC in mid-2007 as a senior associate, Danielson taught several MIT courses on cleantech, founded the MIT Energy Club and co-founded the MIT Energy Conference and the New England Clean Energy Council.

Steve Rattner: The co-founder (and most visible member) of private equity firm Quadrangle Group, Ratner was tapped by Obama to serve as the country’s first-ever “car czar.” He stepped down in June, amid talk that he was being investigated as part of the pay-to-play scandal involving New York state pension funds (although that was obviously not the official reason given).

John Doerr (Kleiner Perkins) and Mark Gallogly (Centerbridge Capital): Both men are part of Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, which meets occasionally with the President to discuss economic issues.

Steve Pagliuca: He’s not in DC yet, but the Bain Capital managing director is running to succeed Ted Kennedy as the next U.S. Senator from Massachusetts.