Former Clinton Treasury Secretary Turned Obama Adviser Was Paid Tens of Millions by Bailed-Out Citigroup
November 24, 2008 - 8:00 PMRobert Rubin, a key economic advisor to President-elect Barack Obama who served as Treasury secretary for President Clinton, has been one of the highest paid executives at the now twice bailed-out financial giant Citigroup.
Rubin, who has been associated with the bank since 1999, served as its interim chairman from November to December 2007.
Rubin’s role has been described as an advisor to the company’s top executives.
“It’s a little like visiting Yoda, you go and get a dose of wisdom,” Citigroup co-head of global investment banking Raymond J. McGuire told the Times.
McGuire, who is one of Obama’s bundlers – the fundraising titans responsible for bankrolling Obama’s presidential campaign – is a member with Rubin on Citigroup’s Senior Leadership Committee.
Rubin has been well compensated for his advice, earning $17.3 million in 2006, according to Citigroup’s SEC filings. Rubin earned $16.4 million in 2005, $16.5 million in 2004, and $16.6 million in 2003.
Rubin has also served on the executive board of the struggling Ford Motor Co. as a director until 2006, which paid him over $100,000 that year, according to Forbes.com.
The executive committee at Citigroup, of which Rubin was the chairman from 1999 until it was abolished in August 2008, was responsible for recruiting and hiring the company’s top executives, including former Chairman Charles Prince, who resigned when the company’s stock value declined sharply in 2007 amid worries that its mortgage-backed securities were becoming toxic.
Rubin, who former President Bill Clinton once called “the greatest Treasury secretary since Alexander Hamilton,” has been a Washington and Wall Street luminary for the better part of two decades, gliding between distinguished careers at Wall Street’s most prestigious firms and Washington’s halls of power.
Rubin has served on Citigroup's board of directors and is listed as a member of the senior leadership committee – an entity separate from the board.
Three of Obama’s top transition officials having ties to Rubin.
Timothy Geithner, Obama’s pick to succeed Henry Paulson at the Treasury secretary, was Rubin’s undersecretary for international affairs at Treasury.
Lawrence Summers, who Obama has picked to lead his National Economic Council, served as deputy Treasury secretary under Rubin. Peter Orszag, Obama’s designated budget director, was a Rubin ally during his tenure at Treasury.
Rubin began his career at Goldman Sachs in 1966, eventually being named co-chairman in 1990. Rubin left Goldman Sachs in 1992 to head President Clinton’s newly created National Economic Council before being appointed Treasury secretary in 1995. He left government in 1999 for Citigroup.