Which Bush Administration Advisors Will Graduate To Private Equity?

The worlds of private equity and public service are more intertwined than their names would suggest. Plenty of former advisers to the highest office in the country go into private equity after their term ends. More than likely, folks like Hank Paulson are ready to get out of the spotlight. Could the allure of the secretive, top-of-the-food-chain PE firms attract their interest?

First let’s take a look at some former White House advisers who’ve moved on to private equity, then a list of Bush’s Cabinet members, a group rich with connections and expertise, ready to be courted.

The most obvious connection is George H.W. Bush’s former advisory role to The Carlyle Group (not a formal advisor, but still), while former Secretary of State James Baker and former Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci also have advised Carlyle in some capacity.

Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill’s worked as an advisor Blackstone Group. John Snow, Secretary of the Treasury under George W. Bush, went on to serve as the Chairman of Cerberus Capital Management. There’s also George Tenet, formerly a CIA director under George W. Bush, who now advising defense companies including ones owned by Carlyle. John Lehman, founded J.F. Lehman & Co, a middle market PE firm, after he was the Secretary of the U.S. Navy.

Dan Quayle also served as Chairman of Cerberus Capital Management. CCMP Capital Advisors has managing director Nancy-Ann DeParle, a Clinton-era administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, on its roster. Erskine Bowles, former Chief of Staff under Bill Clinton, is listed as a general partner with Carousel Capital. Frederic Malek, a former Nixon, Reagan and George H.W. Bush advisor, now runs Thayer Capital Partners.

Luis Nogales, founder of Nogales Investors, worked under the Nixon and Clinton administrations. Richard Holbrook of Perseus LLC served as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and also spent two-plus years as a member of Clinton’s cabinet. Meanwhile James Johnson of Perseus advised John Kerry in his candidacy.

After the partisan bickering, finger pointing and stress in the public political eye, PE might just make sense. Headhunters, start your engines.

Currently serving President George W. Bush in cabinet roles:
Department of Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer
Department of the Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne
Department of Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez
Department of Justice Attorney General Michael Mukasey
Department of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates
Department of Labor Secretary Elaine Chao
Department of Education Secretary Margaret Spellings
Department of State Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Department of Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman
Department of Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters
Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt
Department of the Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr.
Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. James Peake
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff
Department of Housing & Urban Development Secretary Steve Preston
The Vice President Richard B. Cheney
White House Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolten
Office of Management and Budget Jim Nussle
United States Trade Representative Ambassador Susan Schwab
Environmental Protection Agency Stephen Johnson
Office of National Drug Control Policy John Walters

Sources: Buyouts archives, peHUB archives, whitehouse.gov