Quadrangle’s Rattner To Become U.S. Adviser On Autos

Steven Rattner will become an adviser to the U.S. Treasury Department on the restructuring of the troubled auto industry and has stepped down from the private equity firm he co-founded, the Quadrangle Group, the firm said in a statement on Monday.

Rattner will become a counselor to U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on a range of economic and financial issues and will lead the team advising Geithner and National Economic Council Director Larry Summers on the auto sector.

The task force is charged with overseeing the government bailout of General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC and deciding whether to provide more aid to the cash-strapped automakers.

GM and Chrysler, which were granted $17.4 billion loans in December, requested nearly $22 billion in additional U.S. aid last week when they submitted new restructuring plans.

Rattner had been considered to be a leading contender to advise the administration on the restructuring of the auto sector when it had been expected to name a single official with broad powers — a position that became known popularly as the “car czar.”

Instead, President Barack Obama surprised industry analysts and executives by opting to appoint a team of officials headed by Geithner and Summers to oversee the bailout of GM and Chrysler and requests for aid from parts suppliers.

Ron Bloom, a restructuring expert with investment banking experience who has advised labor unions, has also been named one of the advisers to the Obama administration’s auto team.

The U.S. Treasury has also retained two law firms with deep bankruptcy experience — Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft and Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal — and investment bank Rothschild.

Rattner, a former journalist with The New York Times whose banking career has included prominent media deals, has also been an active fund-raiser for the Democratic party.

Before founding Quadrangle Groupin 2000, Rattner had been a managing director at Lazard Freres & Co, where he was a member of the investment bank’s media team.

Quadrangle Group said Michael Humber and Joshua Steiner would become co-presidents of the private equity firm, replacing Rattner effective immediately.

(Reporting by Kevin Krolicki; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Brian Moss)