BlackRock’s extraordinary access to the halls of government power has given the company prime opportunities to recruit key officials after they leave government service.
The company’s hiring of former government officials also gives the company valuable insight into the inner workings of politics and government as well as an important conduit to influence financial policymaking on a variety of issues affecting its interests.
BlackRock hires key U.S. officials
Since 2004, BlackRock has hired at least 84 officials who served in various governmental roles including as policymakers in Washington, as central bankers, and as employees of foreign governments. The officials worked at many key institutions, including the Department of Treasury, the White House, government-sponsored enterprises (GSE), and central banks around the world.
Some of those same officials met frequently with BlackRock employees while serving in government positions. For instance, George Osborne met at least five times with BlackRock while serving as the U.K.’s Chancellor of the Exchequer. As described below, Osborne received a lucrative BlackRock consulting contract after leaving office.
In the U.S., the company hired officials from the White House, U.S. Treasury, SEC and other top administration positions to staff its ranks. Key Washington hires include:
- Kendrick Wilson, an advisor to Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson during the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, was hired by BlackRock in 2010 as a Vice Chairman.
- Kevin Chavers, the former president of Ginnie Mae during the Clinton Administration and a key advisor to the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Chavers was hired by BlackRock Solutions Financial Markets Advisory group in 2011.
- Cheryl Mills, a trusted confidante and advisor to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was appointed to BlackRock’s board of directors in October 2013. Many believed Mills was hired in a scheme by BlackRock CEO Larry Fink to ingratiate himself with key Clinton advisors in order to become the Treasury Secretary in a future Administration. Curiously, State Department documents show that Ms. Mills recused herself from any matters regarding BlackRock more than two years before her appointment to BlackRock’s board.
- Christopher Meade, a former general counsel at the Treasury Department during the Obama Administration, was hired in 2015 to serve in the same role at BlackRock.
- Kathryn Rosen, a deputy assistant secretary at Treasury and senior policy adviser to Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) on the House Financial Services Committee, was hired in 2015 as a managing director of BlackRock Solutions’ Financial Markets Advisory Division.
- Brian Deese, a senior Obama administration budget official, was hired by BlackRock in 2017 to head the company’s sustainable investment unit.
BlackRock international hires
BlackRock has hired key government officials and regulators from Europe as well. In 2012, the company hired the former Chairman of the Swiss National Bank’s governing board, Philipp Hildebrand, less than a year after he was forced to resign in a currency trading scandal involving his wife [See BlackRock’s Leaky Chinese Wall].
In a sign of his influence, the former central bank official received phone calls from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner on the day he resigned from the Swiss National Bank and again on the day he joined BlackRock (P. 3,1 P. 512).
In 2017, BlackRock hired former U.K. Treasury head George Osborne as a consultant, paying him £650,000 annually for one day of work a week. Other BlackRock hires from HM Treasury include Osborne’s chief of staff Rupert Harrison, who joined BlackRock in 2015, and ex-HM Treasury official Antony Manchester, who joined the company in 2017.
Other key foreign government employees hired by BlackRock include:
- Friederich Merz, a former member of the German Bundestag and Angela Merkel deputy, was hired by BlackRock in 2016 as the chair of BlackRock’s German operations.
- Paschalis Bouchoris, a former official with the National Bank of Greece, was hired as a managing director of BlackRock’s Financial Markets Advisory division in 2015.
- Jean Boivin, a former deputy governor of the Bank of Canada, was hired by BlackRock in 2014 as a managing director and investment strategist. Today Boivin is head of BlackRock’s Global Research division.
- Gerardo Rodriguez Regordosa, a 14-year veteran of the Mexican Ministry of Finance and Public Credit, served most recently as Undersecretary of Finance and Public Credit where he was in charge of activities related to the development of infrastructure projects through the National Infrastructure Fund. He joined BlackRock in 2013 as a Managing Director in the Emerging Markets Group.
Several former BlackRock executives have moved into government as well, securing top government positions in which they can set policy on issues critical to the company’s success.
For instance, BlackRock’s managing director, Craig Phillips, was appointed as a senior advisor to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in January 2017. Phillips, who contributed over $100,000 to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and was named as a defendant in a 2011 lawsuit for allegedly misleading Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during his time as a Morgan Stanley director, has become a key Mnuchin advisor. He has served as Treasury’s point man on rolling back financial regulations on Wall Street and as a key advisor in determining the path forward for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
- Michael Anton, another BlackRock executive, was appointed to the Trump Administration in February 2017 to serve as a National Security Council spokesperson but left the position in April 2018.