Roger Altman

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Roger Altman
Personal details
Born (1946-04-02) April 2, 1946 (age 68)
Brookline, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Georgetown University
University of Chicago
Religion Roman Catholic[1]

Roger Charles Altman (born April 2, 1946)[2] is an American investment banker and Democratic politician. He served as Deputy Secretary of the Treasury from 1993 to 1994 under the Clinton administration until he resigned in August 1994 amid the Whitewater controversy.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Altman was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, and was raised in Boston as a Catholic. His father was a food broker, passed away when he was 10 years old, and his mother, a librarian, brought raised Altman and his brother as a single mother. He attended the Roxbury Latin School.[4]

He attended Georgetown University, where he met future President Bill Clinton, and earned a bachelor of arts degree in 1967. In 1969 he earned an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, but took time off in 1968 to work in Indiana organizing volunteers for Robert F. Kennedy's presidential campaign.[5]

Career[edit]

Early career[edit]

After graduating from business school in 1969, Altman began working at Lehman Brothers, where he grew close to chairman Peter G. Peterson. In 1974, he was made general partner at the age of 28—the youngest in Lehman's history. He left Lehman in 1977 to serve as Assistant Secretary for Domestic Finance in the U.S. Treasury from 1977 to 1981 under President Jimmy Carter, for whom he had fundraised when Carter was Governor of Georgia, and campaigned for in 1976, as well as working on his transition team.[4] As Assistant Secretary, Altman played a "role in negotiating the Federal Government's $1.5 billion bailout of the Chrysler Corporation".[5]

In 1981, he returned to Lehman Brothers, where he became the co-head of investment banking and served on the board of the company and the management committee. During the 1980s, he was a lecturer and adjunct professor at the Yale University School of Management. In 1987, Altman joined the Blackstone Group as vice-chairman and head of its mergers and acquisitions advisory business.[6] During the Reagan-Bush years, he fundraised for Democratic politicians such as Vice President Walter F. Mondale, Massachusetts Governor Michael S. Dukakis, and Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton. He also advised two New York City Mayors, Ed Koch and David N. Dinkins, his successor and nemesis.[3]

Clinton administration[edit]

When Bill Clinton was elected in 1992, he urged U.S. Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen to take Altman on as his Deputy Secretary. He was confirmed in January 1993.[7] Once on the job, Altman was viewed as "the favorite to succeed the 73-year-old Treasury Secretary", and he played a large role in some of the Clinton administration's biggest legislative victories, such as the passage of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 and the "approval of the North American Free Trade Agreement".[3] He was associated with the moderate economic policies of the Clinton administration" and had a reputation as a "deficit hawk".[8]

However, he resigned in 1994 due to the fallout from his role in a record-keeping scandal connected to the Whitewater controversy.[9][10] After nearly 15 hours of testimony in February 1993 before the House and Senate Banking Committees, he submitted his resignation in August 1994, saying that he hoped his resignation would "help to diminish the controversy". He was succeeded by Frank N. Newman, who was the Under Secretary for Domestic Finance at the time.[3]

Return to private sector[edit]

In 1995, instead of returning to Blackstone,[11] he co-founded Evercore Partners, an "independent investment banking advisory firm" in New York City, and currently serves as its Chairman. By 2014, Evercore was "a major player",[12] and its investment management arm had more than $14 billion in assets under management, its investment banking advisory arm $1.5 trillion in "announced transactions".[13] Evercore advised General Motors through its bankruptcy, and was paid $46 million by GM pre-bankruptcy. However, when it asked for a $17.9 million "success fee", a U.S. bankruptcy trustee called the fees "staggering", "inordinately large", and "clearly exceeds the bounds of reasonableness" given that "Evercore had no success at finding a purchaser or funder for the Debtors".[14]

Politically, Altman continued to stay in the loop. He advised to two presidential candidates—John Kerry in 2004,[15] and Hillary Clinton in 2008.[16] In 2010, President Barack Obama interviewed him as a potential candidate to replace Larry Summers as his National Economic Council director,[8] a job that ultimately went to Gene Sperling.[17]

Other activities[edit]

Altman is a Trustee of the New York-Presbyterian Hospital (and serves on its Investment Committee), Vice Chairman of the Board of the American Museum of Natural History, and Chairman of New Visions for Public Schools. Additionally, he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Director of Conservation International,[18] and an Advisory Council member for The Hamilton Project, a Brookings Institute an economic policy initiative.[19]

Altman is listed as a member of the Steering Committee of The Bilderberg Group, a controversial group of influential business and government leaders who meet annually behind closed doors to foster dialogue between Europe and North America.[20][21]

Personal life[edit]

His first marriage ended in a divorce, but he got re-married at age 35 to journalist Jurate Kazickas in 1981. The Rev. James N. English of Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church in Washington, D.C., performed the marriage ceremony at the San Luis Rey Chapel at Cat Cay in the Bahamas.[22] They adopted three children. In 1992, he collapsed while jogging in Central Park due to an irregular heartbeat.[5] His hobbies include jogging, skiing, fly-fishing, and tennis.[4]

Selected writings[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Vitello, Paul (2011-02-06). "Wealthy Donors Push for Change in Catholic Schools". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ a b c d Bradsher, Keith (18 August 1994). "Altman Resigns His Post Amid Whitewater Clamor". New York Times. 
  4. ^ a b c Greenhouse, Steven (August 1, 1993). "Washington at Work; War Room General Plots Fight on Economic Turf". New York Times. 
  5. ^ a b c Uchitelle, Louis (2 August 1994). "Altman's Double Life as a Politician Brings Him to the Edge of Scandal". New York Times. 
  6. ^ David Carey and John E. Morris, King of Capital: The Remarkable Rise, Fall and Rise Again of Steve Schwarzman and Blackstone (Crown 2010), pp. 57-58
  7. ^ "Deputy Treasury Secretary Confirmation Hearing, Senate Finance Committee". C-SPAN. January 13, 1993. 
  8. ^ a b Ross Colvin; Glenn Somerville (November 16, 2010). "Obama interviews Altman as new economic adviser". Reuters. 
  9. ^ "Cast of Characters", CNN, 1999.
  10. ^ "The RTC Investigation'", CNN, July 7, 1997
  11. ^ King of Capital, pp. 121-23.
  12. ^ Harrington, Jeff (October 17, 2014). "Roger Altman tells Tampa clients there's little to fear on the economic horizon". Tampa Bay Times. 
  13. ^ "Overview: Evercore Partners". Evercore Partners. Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  14. ^ http://dailybail.com/home/goldman-alum-roger-altman-steals-46-million-from-taxpayers-l.html retrieved 12/13/2010
  15. ^ Gongloff, Mark (3 March 2004). "Kerry adviser a Whitewater casualty". CNN. 
  16. ^ Balz, Dan (30 May 2006). "Clinton Is A Politician Not Easily Defined". Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-05-09. 
  17. ^ Lori Montgomery (January 7, 2011). "Gene Sperling to replace Larry Summers as head of National Economic Council". Washington Post. 
  18. ^ "Roger C. Altman: Founder and Executive Chairman". Evercore. Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  19. ^ "Advisory Council: Roger C. Altman". The Hamilton Project. Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  20. ^ http://www.bilderbergmeetings.org/steering-committee.html
  21. ^ "Bilderberg Meeting 2009 Greece Complete Members List". Scribd.com. Retrieved 2010-05-09. 
  22. ^ "Jurate Kazickas Bride of Roger Altman". New York Times. 7 December 1981.