Rattner Will Take Role at U.S. Treasury

Quadrangle Group co-founder Steven Rattner has agreed to join the Treasury Department as a counselor to Secretary Timothy Geithner, advising him on the automobile industry, the company said in a statement. The firm said that effective immediately, Michael Huber and Joshua Steiner have been named co-presidents.

Steiner is a co-founder of Quadrangle and Huber joined the firm in 2000.

“Since the founding of this firm in 2000, we have very deliberately sought to assemble a broad and deep team of highly skilled professionals,” Rattner said in a statement. “I have the utmost faith and confidence in my partners and colleagues to manage an exceptional institution and to deliver first-class results.”

Rattner, who built Quadrangle into one of the largest private-equity funds serving the cable space — Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts and IAC/InterActiveCorp chairman Barry Diller were early backers of the fund, and have served on its advisory board — had been named by some as an early front-runner to head the Obama administration’s auto industry task force. That speculation ended after the administration said Geithner and National Economic Council director Lawrence Summers would co-lead the group.

Rattner and his wife, Maureen White — former finance chair for the Democratic National Committee — have been big supporters of Al Gore, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton and President Obama.

The task force’s main purpose is to administer the $17.4 bailout of General Motors and Chrysler and determine whether the two companies should receive more aid, either in the form of loans or financing for a bankruptcy filing, according to published reports.

Rattner would also be expected to help determine what should be done to help auto suppliers that are short on liquidity.

“The Obama administration’s selection of Steve represents a distinct honor for him and a rare opportunity for him to help facilitate our country’s economic recovery,” Quadrangle said in a statement. “While we will clearly miss Steve, we recognize the utmost importance of this appointment. We would like to thank him for his extraordinary leadership, judgment and friendship.”

Rattner’s experience appears to be far removed from the auto industry — it has invested mainly in media and telecom companies — but the former Lazard LLC has years of experience in managing large pools of money. Quadrangle Group has about $6 billion under management. Some of Quadrangle’s early investments included Bresnan Communications and Cequel Communications.