Return to search

Trump eyes Macquarie banker for infrastructure

After years of neglect, infrastructure is suddenly a hot topic for both the government and private investors. My colleague Sam Sutton and I just took a deep dive into the space for the next cover of Buyouts, which comes out Monday. (Subscribers can read the story online right now.)

If roads, bridges and dams bore you, does $62 billion get your attention? That’s the record amount raised by private infrastructure funds last year, according to Preqin. In this already-stoked environment, President Trump wants to spend up to $1 trillion on fixing the nation’s crumbling roads, bridges, ports and airports, relying in part on partnering with the private sector. This could be a boon for the private infrastructure market through things like tax credits. On the other hand, no one really has definitive answers about Trump’s plans, which seem … malleable.

With this backdrop, Trump is gathering talent within his administration to work on infrastructure. One person I’m hearing could be appointed is former George W. Bush administration official David James “DJ” Gribbin.

Gribbin has extensive experience working on infrastructure in government, but he also spent time in the private sector working at Macquarie and Koch Industries. Most recently he worked at HDR Inc, an engineering, architecture and consulting firm.

Bloomberg reported this week the Trump administration named real estate developers Richard LeFrak and Steven Roth to a committee dedicated to infrastructure. It’s not clear whether Gribbin would join that committee or take on a different role focused on infrastructure.

Dear Reader, if you know anything about what Gribbin’s role may be or have caught on to other private markets folks heading into the administration, ping me at

Gribbin, 53, did not respond to a LinkedIn request for comment. Jackie Fox, a spokeswoman for HDR, said Gribbin resigned from HDR and his last day was Jan. 6. The White House communications team did not respond to several requests for comment.

Gribbin has extensive experience working in the area of transportation infrastructure. He spent more than six years at Macquarie, prior to which he for two years was general counsel at the U.S. Department of Transportation. He also was chief counsel at the Federal Highway Administration from 2003 to 2005, and spent six years at Koch Industries.

Gribbin was nominated by the George W. Bush administration for the role of general counsel of DoT. During his Senate nomination hearing in 2007, he laid out his thinking on privatization of U.S. infrastructure.

Photo: Donald Trump hugs a U.S. flag as he takes the stage for a campaign town hall meeting in Derry, New Hampshire August 19, 2015. REUTERS/Brian Snyder