Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Why Bill Daley's New Hedge Fund Gig Surprises No One

Obama's erstwhile Chief of Staff follows fellow public servants to the financial sector

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    NEWSLETTERS

    After flirting with a run for Illinois governor, Bill Daley -- brother of former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley -- has announced a new gig at the new hedge fund Argentiere Capital.

    Surprise?

    Daley, who served as White House Chief of Staff from 2011-2012, is the latest in a revolving door of ex-Obama administration officials who are following stints in public office with cushy positions at financial firms. He trails in the footsteps of ex-Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner, who recently became president of the Wall Street private-equity outfit Warburg Pincus, and Peter Orszag, who served as Director of the Office of Management and Budget before joining Citigroup in 2011.

    In his new role, Daley will work to expand Argentiere's U.S. business from his Chicago home base. The nascent fund, which boasts $500 million in assets, was launched in Switzerland last year by JPMorgan trading alums. (Daley has professional ties to the bank: He was JPMorgan's Midwestern chairman from 2004 up through his Chief of Staff appointment.)

    "I’ve always been with big organizations," he told Politico. "This is a bunch of young people who are starting a business. When I left the government, I said I wanted to be part of building something, and this is as entrepreneurial a business as I’ve ever been involved in. It’s exciting. It's the stage of my life where people are saying: ‘Go take it easy, and hang out.' I figure that’s a recipe for death."

    Maybe so. But joining a private-sector start-up seems a heck of a lot less stressful -- and easier on the wallet -- than, say, the high-stakes, pressure-filled job of running the state of Illinois. In that respect, it makes sense that Daley, who's been blasted by detractors as entitled, "remarkably thin-skinned" and a "walking disaster," would return to a comfort zone where he commands a high level of respect yet attracts far less exposure to criticism -- not to mention more cash.

    For those seeking a post-government career in the big-money finance industry, even a short-lived tenure as "Chief of Staff" can prove a golden ticket to infinite wealth.