At a Glance
- Career History: Founder of Quadrangle Group (2000 to 2009); Deputy CEO of Lazard Freres & Co (1997 to 2000); Merger and Acquisition specialist at Lazard (1989 to 1997)
- Birthday: July 5, 1952
- Hometown: Great Neck, N.Y.
- Alma Mater: Brown University, B.A. (economics), 1974
Path to Power
A product of Great Neck, N.Y., Rattner joined his high-school newspaper because of his love of photography. He quickly became the managing editor. For college, Rattner attended Brown University, studying economics, but he continued his journalistic pursuits working for, and eventually running, Brown's daily paper. After graduation, he won a New York Times internship in Washington with columnist James Reston.
Rattner became a rising star at the Times and was hired by the Metro desk before covering energy and then to work in the Washington bureau, all by the age of 24.
The U.S. auto industry was reeling in late 2008 and early 2009. GM and Chrysler had already received nearly $25 billion in federal aid in order to stave off total collapse. Amidst a global recession, GM and Chrysler's debt obligations rose to such a point that it became nearly impossible to obtain loans in the private market. They begged the Obama administration for help, and the president told them to outline their plans for long-term viability in February 2009.
Obama also created the President's Auto Task Force, a 14-person group with representatives from the Treasury, Labor, Transportation and Energy departments, among others. However, it was mostly run by senior aides, and Rattner unofficially led the group's daily efforts.
Rattner boasts a star-studded list of friends, developed throughout his years as a journalist, investment banker and Democratic fundraiser.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) trusts Rattner's former company Quadrangle Group with his multi-billion dollar fortune. In 2005, Rattner helped Bloomberg's fundraising efforts in New York City, heading the Democrats for Bloomberg fundraising committee. Rattner also contributed to fundraising efforts for Democratic presidential candidates Al Gore (D), John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) and Obama.
Rattner is known as a big Democratic campaign player along with his wife, Maureen White, the former chief DNC fundraiser. The Rattners reportedly helped then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) raise $2 million for the 2008 Democratic presidential primary. When Clinton dropped out of that race, Rattner became a bundler for Obama, raising at least $100,000 for his 2008 presidential effort.
From 1993 to 2000, while Rattner worked at Lazard, he donated over $256,000 to various candidates and political committees. He donated $4,500 of that money to Republican candidates, including $3,500 to ex-South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford (S.C.) when he was running for the U.S. House seat he held from 1994 to 2000.