Orszag Take Vice-Chairman Jobs At Citigroup

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. As the Bush Team was to the Oil Industry, the Obama Team has been to the Financial Industry.  Peter Orszag gets a nice new gig at Citigroup:

Former Obama administration budget director Peter Orszag is joining Citigroup’s global banking division, the bank said Thursday.

Orszag will hold the title of vice chairman, and has been tapped to serve in the bank’s Senior Strategic Advisory Group, which includes some of Citi’s (C, Fortune 500) most senior bankers.

“I am pleased to be joining Citi, with its unmatched global platform and dedication to providing clients with quality service and advice,” Orszag said in a statement issued by the bank. “I look forward to working with the experienced, dynamic team at Citi.”

I don’t remember Orszag being particularly involved with the financial reform debate. However he was a major architect of the health care initiative. Here’s an example of what he was doing for the administration:

Orszag took part in a slew of meetings with then-White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel on healthcare in the week after Obama took his oath of office. As the administration made health reform its top legislative priority by the spring of 2009, Orszag began to hold regular meetings with Nancy Ann-DeParle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform.

He also held separate meetings with executives of UnitedHealth Group, Kaiser Permanente, Aetna and Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Other health experts whom Orszag took meetings with included Denis Cortese, president of the Mayo Clinic, Christy Mack of the Bravewell Collaboration for alternative medicine and Judy Salerno of the Institute of Medicine.

There are few who would know the specific regulatory fires that will occur over the next decade as the health care law becomes a reality as well as Orszag. Orszag was someone who organized meetings where, say, Blue Cross and Blue Shield told the administration what their concerns and worries are over the next decade as the law goes into effect, and the government told them what kind of purchases, investments and other capital decisions were going to need to be made by when in order to be in compliance.

I have not covered health care closely, but I could only imagine how valuable someone who knows the inside track on each specific health care industry player’s views on their situation over the next decade as the act is brought into reality is worth at an investment bank. Even getting 6 months in front of each of those implementation rollouts is exactly how investment banks can get an edge on the other players.

It’s a shame that expertise isn’t going towards groups that are involved in good governance and centered around the best possible implementation of the health care bill we could imagine.  I did wonder how long the first wave of the Obama administration would hold out until returning or going to the financial industry while the financial sector is weak and a potential housing decline next year put the major players at risk.  The answer is: not very long.

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