Goodbye Capitol Hill, Hello Wall Street: Gore Joins MetWest

After losing the 2000 presidential election, the longest-running political soap opera in history, former Vice President Al Gore needed to make a career change, and fast.

He tried teaching at first, but perhaps a professor?s salary wasn?t enough to support his and Tipper?s lifestyle. So with a probable pay increase and a new career move in mind, Gore has signed on as a vice chairman at Los Angeles-based Metropolitan West Financial Inc., a financial services firm with more than $50 billion in assets under management.

No doubt an asset to the firm because of his strong connections on Capitol Hill, Gore will be a member of the company?s executive leadership team. In that role, his primary focus will be on expanding MetWest?s businesses to include private-equity investments in biotechnology and information technology. He also will work to expand the firm?s international presence.

Giving the company an international brand name shouldn?t be a challenge for the ex-Veep, given that Gore?s appointment has already considerably raised the firm?s domestic profile.

What is more, MetWest is one of the largest securities lenders in the U.S. and has a notable fixed-income fund-management business.

In a prepared statement, Gore said that after a quarter-century of serving the public as a congressman, senator and vice president, “I am eager to learn more about business as an active executive of this dynamic and community-oriented company.”

In the statement, he added that as he began to look at MetWest and get acquainted with its business and culture, “the one thing that stood out is the talent and integrity of its executive leadership and its staff.”

As far as his political career goes, Gore has said that his new position won?t have an impact one way or the other.

Still, Gore doesn?t seem quite ready to give up his teaching digs. The former vice president is expected to continue to serve as a research professor focusing on family?centered community building at the University of California at Los Angeles and will still teach classes on the subject at Middle State University and Fisk University, both in his home state of Tennessee. Last semester, Gore taught a class at the Columbia School of Journalism and also remains a research professor there.

And, as if that weren?t enough, Gore and Tipper are in the process of writing a book on the American family.

“We are extraordinarily pleased to welcome Al Gore to MetWest,” said Richard Hollander, chairman and chief executive of MetWest. “His economic credentials were honed at the public sector?s highest levels as vice president and a member of the U.S. Senate. His insight and knowledge of the public and private sectors will be invaluable to our organization. He will play an active role in shaping the future of our company.”

MetWest certainly is no stranger to having public officials on staff. Tom Hayes and Russell Gould, both directors of finance under former California Republican Governor Pete Wilson, have each been part of the firm?s employee roster at one time or another.

Gore will continue to split his time between Washington, D.C., and Tennessee.

Danielle Fugazy can be contacted at: Danielle.Fugazy@tfn.com