Posted on Monday, April 4, 2011
David N. Miller, the chief investment officer of the Treasury Department’s bailout program, is planning on leaving the government at the end of the month to return to the private sector.
Since the onset of the financial crisis, Mr. Miller, a former Goldman Sachs investment banker, has worked for two administrations in creating and running programs aimed at stabilizing the nation’s banking system.
Mr. Miller said he began thinking about leaving several months ago, in large part because of the difficulty that his job placed on his family. He has been driving back and forth from Washington and his home in Scarsdale, N.Y., twice a week, participating in conference calls as he drives on Interstate 95.
“There’s never a perfect time to leave, but it was important to get back to my family,” he said in a telephone interview. “My wife has been ready for this.” The couple has three children.
This is the second major departure by a Treasury official connected to the government’s bailout work in recent weeks. James E. Millstein, the Obama administration’s chief restructuring officer, stepped down in February.
Mr. Miller, 35, joined the Treasury in the fall of 2008, shortly after the start of the financial crisis, to help flesh out the Troubled Asset Relief Program. What emerged from weeks of late nights, fueled by junk food from the Treasury’s vending machines, were major bailout initiatives for Citigroup, Bank of America and other firms.
Since then, the government has trimmed the ultimate cost of its bailout programs to $19 billion, from $356 billion a year ago. The Treasury has even generated a profit on some of its investments, including a $12 billion gain on Citigroup.
“David’s superior judgment and expertise were instrumental to TARP’s success,” Jeffrey A. Goldstein, Treasury’s under secretary for domestic finance, said in a statement. “He is a true public servant and will certainly be missed.”
Among his projects, Mr. Miller said he was most proud of the Capital Purchase Program, in which the Treasury was given up to $250 billion to inject into more than 500 banks.
Critics of TARP have argued that the government was too lenient on the banks. But Mr. Miller argued that the main objective, at the time, was preventing a collapse of the financial sector.
“The way we’ve done things, we don’t think we’ve given anything away to the banks,” he said. “We were not asked to act like a vulture or distressed investor.”
Mr. Miller said that the economy had shown clear signs of improvement, and that confidence in the prospects for banks was returning. But that recovery remains fragile.
“We’re in a much better place, but we can’t just assume that the system is completely fixed,” he said.
Mr. Miller will be succeeded by Matt Pendo, a former banker who has worked as Mr. Miller’s deputy for almost six months. Mr. Pendo previously worked at Merrill Lynch and then Barclays Capital, where he eventually became a head of United States investment banking.
As for what’s next, Mr. Miller said that he planned to return to Scarsdale and eventually look for another job in the New York City area. In the interim, he said he hoped to spend time with his family, deliver a few lectures and train for the New York City marathon.
By MICHAEL J. DE LA MERCED, THE NEW YORK TIMES