Steven Rattner

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BornSteven Lawrence Rattner
July 5, 1952
Great Neck, New York, U.S.
Alma materBrown University
SpouseMaureen White
Member ofBrookings Institution, Council on Foreign Relations/Members 3, French-American Foundation/Young Leaders/1995, The American Academy in Berlin/Distinguished Visitors, WEF/Global Leaders for Tomorrow/1994
Two decades at Lehman Brothers, Lazard Freres, Morgan Stanley, US Treasury Department, 5 Bilderbergs, Brookings...

Steven Lawrence Rattner is a former investment banker who worked for two decades at Lehman Brothers, Lazard Freres and Morgan Stanley before working to the US Treasury Department. Chairman and chief executive officer of the private investment group that manages deep politician Michael Bloomberg's personal and philanthropic assets.

He was selected a Global Leader for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum in 1994. He also participated in the Young Leader program of the French-American Foundation. He has attended 5 Bilderberg meetings.

Early life and education

Rattner was born to a Jewish family[1] in New York City, the son of Selma and George Rattner.[2] His father was the president of a small paint company and is a playwright who has produced several Off-Broadway plays; his mother was an architecture preservationist and vice president of the Victorian Society of America.[2][3] Rattner was raised in the suburb of Great Neck, where he attended local public schools. He received his A.B. with honors in economics from Brown University in 1974 and was awarded the Harvey Baker Fellowship. While at Brown, he served as editor-in-chief of The Brown Daily Herald in 1973.

Journalism career

Upon graduating from Brown, Rattner was hired in Washington, D.C., as a news clerk to James Reston, New York Times columnist and former executive editor. After a year, he moved to New York as a reporter to cover business and energy; there he became friends with colleague Paul Goldberger. In 1977, he was transferred back to Washington to cover the energy crisis.[4]

At age 27 he became the paper's chief Washington economic correspondent. He became close friends with Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., who was then the Times publisher.[5] He concluded his service to The New York Times with two years in London as its European economic correspondent.[4]

Investment banking career

At the end of 1982, Rattner left The New York Times and was recruited by Roger Altman to join the investment bank Lehman Brothers as an associate. After Lehman was sold to American Express in 1984, he followed his boss Eric Gleacher and several colleagues to Morgan Stanley, where he founded the firm's communications group. In 1989, after Morgan Stanley filed for an initial public offering, he joined Lazard as a general partner and with Lazard colleagues advised on numerous deals for large media conglomerates such as Viacom and Comcast. Alongside Felix Rohatyn, Rattner became Lazard's top rainmaker in the 1990s. Michel David-Weill named him the firm's deputy chairman and deputy chief executive in 1997.[6]

Private equity career

In March 2000, Rattner and three Lazard partners, including Joshua Steiner, left the firm and founded the Quadrangle Group. They initially focused on investing a $1 billion media-focused private equity fund.[7] Early investors in Quadrangle included Sulzberger, and Mort Zuckerman. Headquartered in the Seagram Building, Quadrangle grew to manage more than $6 billion across several business lines, including private equity, distressed securities, and hedge funds. The firm also hosted an annual gathering for media executives called Foursquare, where speakers included Rupert Murdoch and Mark Zuckerberg. In 2008, the firm's asset management division was selected to invest the personal and philanthropic assets of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Rattner's close friend.[8]

Throughout his business career, Rattner was on several corporate boards, including Cablevision, IAC/InterActiveCorp, and Protection One.


During his tenure with The New York Times in Washington D.C., Rattner developed an interest in economic policy, drawing him to politics and public service. In the mid-1990s, he began to work actively on behalf of Democratic candidates, beginning with President Bill Clinton.

In February 2009, with General Motors and Chrysler insolvent, Rattner was appointed counselor to the United States Secretary of the Treasury and lead auto adviser, a role informally referred to in the media as the "car czar". He soon assembled a team that grew to 14 professionals to address the financial problems of the two auto companies.[9]

Reporting to both Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers, the head of the National Economic Council, Rattner's team developed a plan to save both the two manufacturers and related suppliers and finance companies. The plan involved a government investment of $82 billion in the sector, coupled with controlled bankruptcies for the two auto companies, as well as new management for both, and the closure of 2,000 automobile dealerships and loss of tens of thousands of related jobs.[10][11] A White & Case lawyer claimed that Rattner had threatened the reputation of Perella Weinberg if they continued to oppose the controlled bankruptcies; however Parella Weinberg denied this claim and The New York Times found that Rattner had never spoken with the lawyer who made the claim.[12]

Rattner later stated that the toughest decision for President Obama about the two auto companies was whether to save Chrysler. There was, however, no disagreement about asking GM CEO Richard Wagoner to step aside.[13]

By July 2009, both automakers had emerged from bankruptcy, had new management and were on their way to profitability.[10] At that time, Rattner left Washington and returned to private life in New York.

Post-political career

After leaving the government, Rattner wrote Overhaul: An Insider's Account of the Obama Administration's Emergency Auto Rescue, his New York Times best-selling account of the automotive industry crisis of 2008-2010.

He has continued to speak publicly on auto-related matters as well as broader economic issues. Early in 2011, he began contributing a monthly column to the Financial Times on subjects ranging from the Greek crisis to the U.S. budget deficit. He also became the economic analyst for the MSNBC news show, Morning Joe.[14] And in June 2011, he was named a contributing writer to The New York Times Op-Ed page, publishing his first column on how government policies drive up corn prices.[15]

He is currently chairman and chief executive officer of Willett Advisors LLC, the private investment group that manages billionaire former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg's personal and philanthropic assets.[16]

New York pension fund investigation and settlements

In 2005, Quadrangle retained private placement agent Hank Morris to help Quadrangle raise money for its second buyout fund.[17] Morris had come highly recommended to Rattner from U.S. Senator Charles Schumer.[18] Morris was the chief political advisor to Alan Hevesi, the New York State Comptroller and manager of the New York State Common Retirement Fund (CRF), which invests in many private equity funds. Morris told Rattner he could increase the size of the CRF investment in Quadrangle's second buyout fund. Rattner agreed to pay Morris a placement fee of 1.1% of any investments greater than $25 million from the CRF.[19]

In 2009, Quadrangle and other investment firms were investigated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for their arrangements with Morris. The SEC viewed the payments as "kickbacks" in order to receive investments from the CRF since Morris was also the chief political advisor to Hevesi.[17] Quadrangle paid $7 million in April 2010 to settle the SEC investigation, and Rattner personally settled in November for $6.2 million without admitting or denying any wrongdoing.[20]

The case drew significant media attention when the office of Andrew Cuomo, the New York State Attorney General, also sought penalties from Rattner.[21] Rattner has been a major fundraiser for Democratic Party candidates including Al Gore and Hillary Clinton.

In an appearance on the Charlie Rose Show, Rattner asserted that hiring Morris as a placement agent was "legal then, legal now, and done properly."[18] He explained he was willing to settle with the SEC, but questioned whether Cuomo was motivated by the "facts" of the case and called his settlement demands "close to extortion."[18][22]

On December 30, 2010, Rattner settled with the New York Attorney General's office by agreeing to pay $10 million in restitution. As part of the settlement, Rattner was barred from appearing before a public pension fund in any capacity for five years. Rattner did not admit any wrongdoing and continued to assert his innocence.[22][23]


In 1986, Rattner married Maureen White in an interfaith service at the Lotos Club in Manhattan.[2] They have four grown children, live in a Manhattan apartment, spend summers on Martha's Vineyard,[24] and own a horse farm in North Salem, New York.[25]

Rattner has been a board member or trustee of a number of deep state and philanthropic organizations, including the Educational Broadcasting Corporation as chairman, Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City as chairman, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brown University, Brookings Institution and the New America Foundation. Rattner is also member of the Council on Foreign Relations.[26] Rattner supported various educational and cultural institutions through the Rattner Family Foundation, including the Sesame Workshop, Harvard Law School, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and others.[27] White served for five years as finance chair for the Democratic National Committee and then as a senior advisor on humanitarian issues in Afghanistan and Pakistan for the U.S. Department of State.[24]


Events Participated in

Bilderberg/19993 June 19996 June 1999Portugal
The 47th Bilderberg, 111 participants
Bilderberg/200124 May 200127 May 2001Sweden
The 49th Bilderberg, in Sweden. Reported on the WWW.
Bilderberg/200230 May 20022 June 2002US
Westfields Marriott
The 50th Bilderberg, held at Chantilly, Virginia.
Bilderberg/20068 June 200611 June 2006Canada
54th Bilderberg, held in Canada. 133 guests
Bilderberg/201231 May 20123 June 2012US
The 58th Bilderberg, in Chantilly, Virginia. Unusually just 4 years after an earlier Bilderberg meeting there.


  2. a b c
  4. a b,8599,1892461,00.html
  10. a b
  17. a b
  18. a b c
  22. a b
  24. a b Cohan, William (2007). The Last Tycoons: The Secret History of Lazard Frères & Co. Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-385-51451-4.
  27. February 2018
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