PE Ace Helping Kerry’s VP Search

James Johnson, vice chairman of the Washington, D.C.-based private equity firm Perseus LLC, agreed last week to head up the vice presidential search committee for John Kerry, the likely Democratic Party nominee for president.

In selecting Johnson, Kerry picked a Democrat who is at the nexus of business and politics in Washington. In addition to being a former chairman and CEO of Fannie Mae, Johnson is chairman emeritus of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and a former chairman and honorary trustee of the Brookings Institution, two highly regarded Washington institutions.

From 1977 to 1981, Johnson – a friend of Kerry’s – was also executive assistant to Vice President Walter Mondale.

By naming the 60-year-old Johnson, “Kerry is trying to show what kind of people he’ll bring into his administration” if elected president, Charles Gabriel, senior political analyst at Prudential Securities told Bloomberg.

If later Kerry were to name Johnson his administration’s Treasury Secretary, then that is certainly something Johnson would “be interested in and qualified for,” Gabriel said.