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Rahm Emanuel takes job with campaign donor’s Wall Street firm

Emanuel has experience in investment banking, working until 2000 as a managing director for a firm in Chicago.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel in his office at City Hall. | Ashlee Rezin / Sun-Times
Mayor Rahm Emanuel in his office at City Hall.
Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Rahm Emanuel, fresh off an eight-year, two-term run as Chicago mayor, is joining a Wall Street investment banking firm and opening a Chicago office as a senior counselor for the company.

The co-founder of Centerview Partners LLC, Blair Effron, said in a statement announcing Emanuel’s hiring that he was “pleased to welcome” the former mayor and longtime political operative.

“Rahm’s leadership and vast experience providing strategic advice, coupled with a track record of successful planning and execution, will bring tremendous value to our firm and our clients,” Effron was quoted as saying in the statement. “Establishing a presence in Chicago is a logical next step for Centerview as we continue to grow, and it positions us to better serve existing and new clients throughout the Midwest.”

Emanuel, who announced in September that he would not seek a third term as mayor, took in $61,500 in campaign money from Effron in three separate contributions from 2010 to 2014, according to State Board of Elections records.

Emanuel said in the statement that he’s “excited to use my lifelong experience as an advisor and problem solver in both the public and private sectors in this next chapter of my career, and thrilled to be joining Centerview Partners – a pre-eminent firm that advises leading global companies.”

“I know the Centerview team well and look forward to working with an accomplished and respected group to provide clients in the Midwest, nationally and around the world with trusted, independent advice,” he said.

Founded in 2006, Centerview is based in New York and has offices in London, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Palo Alto, Calif., and now Chicago. Operating as a boutique firm, Centerview has advised clients on nearly $3 trillion in transactions, the company’s statement said.

Emanuel has experience in investment banking, working until 2000 as a managing director for Wasserstein Perella & Co. in Chicago, where he provided strategic and financial advice to clients. Emanuel also worked in the Clinton administration, served as a congressman and worked as former President Barack Obama’s chief of staff before he ran for Chicago mayor.

Before his newest job was announced, Emanuel had already taken positions with ABC News Network as a special contributor and The Atlantic as a contributing editor. Those media outlets were criticized for hiring Emanuel — a politician considered during his tenure as mayor to be anti-press — instead of journalists for those jobs.

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was among the critics of Emanuel’s latest gig as she tweeted a Wall Street Journal story of the hiring and wrote, “not all Democrats are the same.”