More private equity pros moving to public office

The revolving door between politics and private equity has typically been dominated by public servants becoming private-sector millionaires. Over the past several months, however, it seems to have reversed course.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Energy named Jonathan Silver, a former managing director with Core Capital Partners, as executive director of its loan program. Silver will oversee the DOE’s program that will disburse up to $25 billion in loans to automakers to help them speed the introduction of advanced, fuel-efficient vehicles.

His appointment came just hours after President Obama announced that he will nominate Joshua Gotbaum, an operating partner with Blue Wolf Capital Management, as director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.

Silver and Gotbaum are the latest investors to take government jobs since Obama took office this in January. Others include:

Jeffrey Goldstein. A former managing director with Hellman & Friedman since 2005, Goldstein left the firm during the summer to become the Treasury’s undersecretary for domestic finance. Prior to joining Hellman & Friedman, Goldstein spent five years as managing director of The World Bank.

Matthew Kabaker. A managing director with The Blackstone Group, Kabaker was one of Tim Geithner’s first hires as a senior advisor. Kabaker had joined Blackstone in 1998, and served on the boards of portfolio companies Alliant Insurance, Ariel Re, TRW Automotive, FGIC, HealthMarkets and Michaels Stores. At the time of his hiring, sources said that Kabaker’s experience with financial institutions made him particularly qualified to help handle the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Karen Gordon Mills. The former president of MMP Group and co-founder of Solera Capital, Mills was named administrator of the Small Business Association in April.

Julius Genachowski. Nominated by Obama as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Genachowski previously had been running LaunchBox Digital, a Washington, D.C.-based early stage investment firm and consultancy. He also served as a special advisor to General Atlantic, a managing director of Rock Creek Ventures and is the former chief of business operations for IAC.

Nick Sinai. In August, Sinai became energy and environmental director at the FCC. He had been a principal with Tenaya Capital since January 2008. Before that, he spent three years as a senior associate with Polaris Venture Partners, and was a board observer for LogMeIn, SiOnyx, Mintera and Infinite Power Solutions. He also served as interim vice president of corporate development for Polaris portfolio company GreenFuel Technologies.

Jason Tepperman. A private equity pro who spent the past seven years with Baker Capital, Tepperman recently began work in the Office of Financial Stability’s chief investment officer.

David Danielson. A former venture capitalist with General Catalyst Partners, Danielson left during the summer to become an administrator on the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy. Prior to joining General Catalyst in mid-2007 as a senior associate, Danielson taught several courses on cleantech at MIT.

Steve Rattner. The co-founder (and most visible member) of private equity firm Quadrangle Group, Rattner was tapped by Obama to serve as the country’s first-ever “car czar.” He stepped down in June as Quadrangle was being investigated as part of the pay-to-play scandal involving New York state pension funds.

John Doerr (of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers) and Mark Gallogly (Centerbridge Capital). Both are part of Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, which meets occasionally with the President to discuss economic issues.

Steve Pagliuca. The Bain Capital managing director is running to succeed Ted Kennedy as the next U.S. Senator from Massachusetts.