Gregg named CEO of Wall Street lobbying group
The post was described by The Hill, a Washington publication and web site, as “one of the hottest openings on K Street.” According to several news reports citing the group’s tax forms, SIFMA’s prior CEO, Tim Ryan, earned $2.9 million in 2010.
According to The Hill, Gregg said on a conference call he plans to use his new post to try to convey a message that a healthy Wall Street is a plus for the economy.
In a statement, Gregg said, “America’s success and prosperity depends on a vibrant financial system providing access to capital and credit that helps people on Main Streets across America build on their dreams of opening a small business, saving to be able to send their children to college, buying their first home or saving for retirement.
“At the center of this financial system is the membership of SIFMA,” said Gregg. “Our members provide the resources and expertise that make the economic engine of America work and create a more prosperous life for Americans. We are facing a great many challenges and I look forward to working with legislators and regulators together as we improve our economy and the lives of our citizens.”
Gregg, 66, was a leading fiscal conservative during his three terms in the U.S. Senate and was a key player in the creation and passage in 2008 of the $700 million Wall Street “bailout” effort known as the Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP.
The Republican served two terms as governor and three terms in the U.S. House, as well as a single term as an executive councilor.
Gregg was also nominated by President Barack Obama to be Secretary of Commerce in 2009, first accepting the appointment but then withdrawing his name shortly thereafter, admitting he had made a mistake.
Since leaving Capitol Hill, he has co-chaired the national Campaign to Fix the Debt, a bipartisan group which has pushed for a comprehensive solution to the nation’s deficit and debt. Other co-chairs of Fix the Debt are former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Gregg said he intends to remain active in the group.
Gregg has also been an international adviser to SIFMA member Goldman Sachs.
SIFMA also named former Rep. Ken Bentsen, a Texas Democrat, as its president. Bentsen, the nephew of the late senator and 1988 vice presidential nominee Lloyd Bentsen, had been the group’s acting president and CEO, and reportedly had been considered a leading candidate for the top post.
The Hill reported that SIFMA, which represents “financial giants” such as Bank of America and Morgan Stanley, spent nearly $5.6 million on lobbying in 2012 and $1.45 million on lobbying in the first quarter of 2013.
Gregg’s appointment will become official when the group’s board votes to approve him on Friday.