There’s Something About Private Equity that Washingtonians Love

Washington D.C.

IMG: via Shutterstock

Despite the bad attitude former presidential candidate Mitt Romney seemed to have cultivated for private equity, lots of Washingtonians are getting into the business. Private equity is a lucrative and financially rewarding business for former policymakers, politicians, and Washington leaders to get involved in; plus, with the kind of global experience that comes with working in the nation’s capitol, people like that are also some of the most qualified for the job.

In the past few years, we’ve seen people like retired 4-Star General and former CIA head David Petraeus, former Senator Joe Lieberman, and Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski take positions at private equity firms. And former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has already announced that he’s going to Warburg Pincus in March.

What are these well known faces doing in private equity? David Petraeus, KKR’s new Global Institute Chairman, is heading up a new arm of the business that deals with public policy, economic research and emerging-market due diligence. Former Senator Joe Lieberman is at Victory Park Capital, where he is Chairman of the Executive Board.

“While in the U.S. Senate, I fought for policies that would allow small businesses to thrive,” Mr. Lieberman said, according to the New York Times. “I look forward to a long-term partnership with Victory Park Capital that will position the firm for continued growth.”

Julius Genachowski, former Federal Communications Commission Chairman, joined Carlyle Group as the Managing Director in the U.S. Buyout Team, a position that will allow him to help the firm capitalize on Internet and Mobile technology.

Timothy Geithner will join Warburg Pincus this spring as company president. He will help in the management of client communications, investment funds, and the company in general. In a statement, Warburg Pincus’ Chip Kaye expressed his enthusiasm for bringing Geithner to the firm:

“He brings a history of strong leadership, a deep understanding of economies and markets, and a truly global perspective,” Kaye said. “These attributes will be of tremendous value to our firm in this increasingly interconnected world.”

Joining up with private equity firms allows former public servants like Petraeus, Lieberman, Genachowski, and Geithner to apply their expertise in a business setting—as opposed to governmental—so it’s no surprise that private equity has seen a steady influx of politicians and the like over the years.

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