Former Gen. David Petraeus could be headed for a minimal jail sentence after pleading guilty to mis-handling classified government information. But even if he’s exiled from Washington’s social circles, Petraeus will be able to retain his ties to private equity.
Petraeus is also employed in Washington with one private equity firm as Chairman of the KKR Global Institute, according to the PE firm’s website, where he is “focused on geopolitical and macro-economic trends, as well as environmental, social and governance issues.”
“Since joining the firm in 2013, David Petraeus has made valuable contributions to KKR, and hs work has benefited our investors,” KKR representative Kristi Huller said in a statement after his plea deal was announced. “We look forward to working with him as he continues to add value as Chairman of the KKR Global Institute.”
Petraeus faces a maximum of one year in prison, as well as a fine. Typically, that might make him persona non grata around some LBO shops, which are reluctant to take on detractors, especially after taking a bruising when private equity’s golden boy, Mitt Romney, fought for the US presidency in 2013.
To be certain, recruiting executives from various branches of government is commonplace both in the private equity industry, and in other financial services sectors, that have taken full advantage of the ‘revolving door’ between public sector regulatory and monitoring roles, and private sector opportunities elsewhere at banks and law firms.
D.C. has long had a revolving door allowing public sector veterans to jump to Wall St.
Democrats and Republicans alike have jumped ship in Washington, only to find eager buyers in the form of LBO shops looking to scale up with insight in the nation’s capital. Cerberus Capital Management first hired, in 1999, former Vice President Dan Quayle to join its team (he is no longer with the investor) but another GOP appointee — John Snow — is now chairman of the firm.
Financier Lynn Tilton’s Patriarch Partners hired Col. Norbert E. Vergez, in part to work on helicopter investments — something that drew the attention of federal investigators. Cathy Zoi, a former Obama Administration Department of Energy employee, stopped by Silver Lake for a proverbial cup of coffee after leaving the D.C. circuit (she now teaches at Stanford, according to her LinkedIn profile). And of course former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is now at Warburg Pincus.
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