|Steven Lawrence Rattner|
Steven Rattner at the Financial Times View from the Top conference in 2011
July 5, 1952 |
Great Neck, New York
|Residence||New York, New York|
|Occupation||Private equity investor, investment banker, journalist|
|Employer||Quadrangle Group, Lazard Freres & Co., New York Times|
|Known for||Automotive industry crisis of 2008-2009|
Steven Lawrence Rattner (born July 5, 1952) is an American financier who served as the lead auto advisor (informally the "car czar") in the United States Treasury Department under President Barack Obama. He was previously a co-founding principal of the Quadrangle Group, a global private equity firm specializing in the media and communications industries. He also spent two decades as an investment banker at Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley, and Lazard Freres & Co., where he became Deputy Chairman and Deputy Chief Executive Officer. Rattner began his career as an economic correspondent for The New York Times in New York, Washington and London.
Rattner is currently chairman of Willett Advisors LLC, the investment firm that manages New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's personal and philanthropic assets. He continues to be deeply involved in public policy matters, including as a contributing writer for the Op-Ed page of The New York Times, as the author of a monthly column for the Financial Times, and as the economic analyst for MSNBC's Morning Joe.
Education and background 
Born in New York City, 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.
Career in journalism 
Upon graduating from Brown, Rattner was hired in Washington D.C. as a news clerk to New York Times columnist James Reston. After a year, he was transferred to New York as a reporter to cover business and energy. In 1977, he was sent back to Washington to cover the energy crisis. At age 27, he became the paper's chief Washington economic correspondent, where he became close friends with future Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. He concluded his service to The New York Times with a two-year stint in London as European Economic Correspondent.
Career in finance 
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 Eric Gleacher and several colleagues to Morgan Stanley, where he founded the firm's communications group. In 1989, after Morgan Stanley filed for an IPO, he joined Lazard as a general partner and completed various deals for companies such as Viacom and Comcast. Working alongside Felix Rohatyn, Rattner became a preeminent Lazard rainmaker in the 1990s. Michel David-Weill named him the firm's Deputy Chairman and Deputy Chief Executive in 1997.
In March 2000, Rattner and three Lazard partners left the firm and founded the Quadrangle Group, which initially focused on investing a $1 billion media-focused private equity fund. 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 announced it had been selected to invest the personal assets of Rattner's close friend, the billionaire New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Public service 
From his tenure with The New York Times in Washington D.C., Rattner developed a lifelong interest in economic policy, which drew 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. While it was rumored that Rattner would join a Democratic administration, he did not do so until after the election of President Barack Obama.
In February 2009, with both General Motors and Chrysler insolvent, Rattner was appointed Counselor to the United States Secretary of the Treasury and lead auto adviser. He soon assembled a team that grew to 14 professionals to address the financial problems of the two auto companies.
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 total government (i.e., taxpayer) 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. 
Rattner later wrote a book: Overhaul: An Insider's Account of the Obama Administration's Emergency Auto Rescue. In the book Rattner states 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. By July 2009, both automakers had emerged from bankruptcy, had new management and were on their way to profitability. At that time, Rattner left Washington and returned to private life in New York.
Post-political career 
After leaving the government, Rattner wrote Overhaul, his New York Times best-selling account of the Obama Administration's reorganization and recapitalization of the auto companies. He continued to speak out 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. And in June 2011, he was named a contributing writer to The New York Times Op-Ed page, publishing a first column on how government policies drive up corn prices.
New York Pension Fund Corruption Investigation 
In 2005, Quadrangle made payments to private placement agent Hank Morris to help Quadrangle raise money for its second buyout fund. Morris had come highly recommended to Rattner from U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. Hank Morris was also the chief political advisor to Alan Hevesi, the trustee of the New York State Common Retirement Fund (CRF). Morris told Rattner he could increase the size of the CRF investment in Quadrangle's second buyout fund. Rattner then agreed that Quadrangle would pay Morris 1.1% of any investments greater than $25 million from the CRF. 
In 2009, Quadrangle and a dozen other investment firms, including the much larger Carlyle Group, were investigated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for the payments to Morris. The SEC viewed the payments as "kickbacks" in order to manage money for the New York State Common Retirement Fund since Morris was also a consultant to New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi, who controlled the Retirement Fund. Quadrangle paid $7 million in April 2010 to settle the SEC investigation. In November, Rattner personally settled for $6.2 million without admitting or denying any wrongdoing.
Prosecution by Attorney General Cuomo 
The case drew significant media attention when Andrew Cuomo, then New York's Attorney General, demanded more severe penalties from Rattner than other firms or individuals involved in the alleged corruption. Rattner was once a major fundraiser for Democratic Party candidates but had repeatedly passed on supporting Cuomo's campaigns. In an appearance on the Charlie Rose Show, Rattner asserted that hiring Hank Morris as a placement agent was "legal then, legal now, and done properly." He explained he was willing to settle on reasonable terms, but called Cuomo's demands "close to extortion" and questioned whether Cuomo was motivated by the "facts" of the case.
On December 30, 2010, Rattner reached a settlement to pay $10 million in restitution but no fines or penalties. The settlement also stipulates that Rattner be barred from appearing in any capacity before a public pension fund within the state of New York for five years. He was not prohibited from continuing to protest his innocence.
Rattner has served as a board member or trustee of a number of civic 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. He is also member of the Council on Foreign Relations and an investor in Current TV, the network founded by Al Gore.
Rattner is married to Maureen White, who served for five years as finance chair for the Democratic National Committee and is now the Senior Advisor on Humanitarian Issues to the Special Representative-Afghanistan and Pakistan for the U.S. Department of State. They have four grown children and live in New York.
- "Rattner to Serve as Lead Adviser on Auto Bailout" by Michael J. de la Merced and Andrew Ross Sorkin, The New York Times "DealBook", Feb. 23, 2009.
- "Lazard Names New Top Team Post-Rohatyn" by Peter Truell, The New York Times, May 23, 1997.
- "2-Min. Bio: Obama Car Guru Steve Rattner" by Kate Pickert, Time, Apr. 20, 2009.
- "4 Top Lazard Freres Bankers Are Quitting to Open Firm" by Patrick McGeehan, The New York Times, March 01, 2001.
- "Bloomberg Chooses a Friend to Manage His Fortune" by Andrew Ross Sorkin, The New York Times, Jan. 16. 2008. Retrieved 2-23-09.
- Shao, Maria. "The 2009 U.S. Auto Bailout Was Necessary, Argues Rattner". Stanford Knowledgebase. Stanford Graduate School of Business. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
- "Auto bailout was not unmitigated success" by Zachary Goldfarb, "The Washington Post" September 6, 2012.
- Rattner, Steven (2010). Overhaul: An Insider's Account of the Obama Administration's Emergency Rescue of the Auto Industry. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 978-0-547-44321-8.
- "The great man theory of business" by Steven Rattner, The Financial Times, Jan. 19, 2011.
- Steven Rattner on MSNBC.com
- Story, Louise (April 22, 2009). "Quadrangle Facing Questions Over Pension Funds". The New York Times.
- "Findings of the Attorney General�s Investigation" by NYAG, NYAG Website, April 15, 2010,
- Story, Louise (April 22, 2009). "Quadrangle Facing Questions Over Pension Funds". The New York Times.
- "SEC Settles With Steven Rattner Over Kickbacks; Cuomo Files New Lawsuits" by Joshua Gallu, Karen Freifeld and Bob Van Voris, Bloomberg, Nov 18, 2010,
- Story, Louise; Lattman, Peter (October 13, 2010). "Steven Rattner Is Said to Settle Pension Case". The New York Times.
- Story, Louise; Barbaro, Michael (December 7, 2010). "Cuomo Pension Inquiry on Steven Rattner Grows Nasty". The New York Times.
- "Rattner to Pay $10 Million in Settlement With Cuomo" by Peter Lattman, The New York Times "Deal Book", Dec. 30, 2010.
- Cohan, William (2007). The Last Tycoons: the Secret History of Lazard Freres & Co. Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-385-51451-4.
- StevenRattner.com Official Site
- 4 Top Lazard Freres Bankers Are Quitting to Open Firm. New York Times, March 1, 2000
- Eyeing More Turf. New York Times, February 17, 2006
- Quadrangle's Connections. Business Week, Nov. 1, 2004.
- Rattner Joins Panel to Fix Auto Industry. Wall Street Journal, Feb. 24, 2009.
- Obama Car Guru Steve Rattner. Time, April 20, 2009.
- Cuomo Files Lawsuits Against Rattner. New York Attorney General, November 18, 2010
- Charlie Rose Interview with Steven Rattner. Charlie Rose Show, Nov. 22, 2010.