Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker Jim Donovan is the front-runner to be President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for undersecretary of domestic finance, according to a person familiar with the decision. He’d be the fourth appointee with close ties to the investment bank tapped to serve in the administration.
If chosen and confirmed, he would be responsible for coordinating policies on banking, capital markets and regulation and managing the issuance of the country’s debt. The person agreed to discuss internal transition deliberations only on the condition of anonymity. Donovan is a managing director at the bank’s private wealth management division. He’s been with Goldman since 1993.
While Trump derided Wall Street and singled out Goldman as a symbol of greed during his campaign, he’s tapped a number of its alumni to help lead the government. He picked Steven Mnuchin, a former partner at the bank, to be Treasury secretary and enlisted Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn for the top White House economic post. Stephen Bannon, another alumnus of the firm, was named chief strategist.
Trump has also said he would nominate Jay Clayton, an attorney with close ties to the investment bank, to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission. Clayton, a Sullivan & Cromwell partner, has done work for Goldman Sachs.
Donovan’s potential appointment was reported earlier by the Wall Street Journal.
He was a financial backer of Mitt Romney for his presidential run in 2012 and then of Jeb Bush in the last election. Donovan is a 1989 chemical engineering graduate of MIT. He received his masters in business administration from there and then went on to earn a law degree from Harvard in 1993.
The current undersecretary position is vacant after President Barack Obama struggled to win approval for his nominee Antonio Weiss in 2014. Democrats, including Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, opposed the nomination for Weiss’s role in engineering tax-lowering inversion deals for U.S. companies when he worked as an investment banker at Lazard Ltd. (Bloomberg)