Former House majority leader Eric Cantor is joining a Wall Street investment bank as vice chairman and managing director, the firm announced this morning.
The firm, Moelis & Co., said Cantor will be based in the New York office of the global company and will soon open an office in Washington. Moelis, with 500 employees, is known as a fast-growing “boutique” firm that advises companies and investors on mergers, acquisitions and risk.
It will use Cantor, 51, to help it compete for business, according to the Wall Street Journal, which broke the story. He will also advise corporate clients on takeovers and “other deals,” the Journal reported.
Cantor, a lawyer, does not have a Wall Street background, though he was considered a friend of Wall Street in Congress. According to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, individuals and committees associated with the securities and investment business were the leading donors among industries to Cantor’s reelection bid, giving a combined total of about $1.4 million during the primary election cycle in 2013 and 2014.
The figure is not unusual for a member of the Republican leadership in Congress. Nor is it unusual for a former member or outgoing high-ranking official in an administration to go to work for a Wall Street firm or to represent banking interests in Washington law firms.
Cantor, a lawyer, worked in the family real estate development business before becoming a member of Congress in 2001.
Moelis & Co. describes itself as “a leading global independent investment bank that provides innovative strategic advice and solutions to a diverse client base, including corporations, governments and financial sponsors.”
According to the company’s Web site, its clients have included “entities” related to the government of Dubai, which it advised on debt restructuring. Since its founding in 2007, it has also advised on a number of mergers and acquisitions, including Berkshire Hathaway’s purchase of Heinz, the sale of Anheuser-Busch to InBev and Hilton’s sale to the Blackstone Group.
Cantor was unexpectedly defeated in his district’s June primary election by a little-known college professor, David Brat.
According to the Journal, Cantor and Moelis have known each other for more than three years. Cantor told the paper the two men were having brunch with their wives in Los Angeles in July and began talks at that time that led to the job.
In a statement issued by the company early this morning, Cantor said: “When I considered options for the next chapter of my career, I knew I wanted to join a firm with a great entrepreneurial spirit that focused on its clients. I have known Ken for some time and having followed the growth and success of his firm, I have long admired his vision and leadership. The new model of independent banks offering conflict free advice, in a smaller more intimate environment, was a place where I knew my skills could help clients succeed.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the year Cantor was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.