Hedge Funds

Scaramucci, back-slapping hedge-fund magnate and GOP fundraiser, reaches the White House

Key Points
  • The new White House communications director has been a regular on cable television.
  • He is a Harvard-educated lawyer who doesn't have traditional political communications background.
Anthony Scaramucci: The savviest media person in the White House is the president

Anthony Scaramucci, the back-slapping Wall Street hedge-fund magnate, is a long-time Republican donor and fundraiser who once criticized Donald J. Trump, the presidential candidate.

But he eventually became one of Trump's biggest defenders, and after months of delays he is finally getting what he has worked for behind the scenes since last year: a position in the Trump White House.

He was originally going to be a White House advisor and liaison to the business community. That didn't happen. Then he was offered the post of U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. That didn't happen. In June, he was named chief strategy officer of the Export-Import Bank.

On Friday he was named White House communications director, a post that has been vacant since May after Mike Dubke resigned.

Scaramucci, 53, a Long Island native who is sometimes called by the nickname "the Mooch," graduated from Harvard Law School in 1989 after getting a bachelor's degree in economics from Tufts University in 1986. According to biographical information on Bloomberg, he was an investment professional at Fidelity Investments and later a vice president in private wealth management at Goldman Sachs. He eventually made it to Lehman Brothers as a managing director in its investment management division.

He founded his hedge fund firm SkyBridge Capital in 2005 and later launched a lavish annual hedge-fund confab in Las Vegas known as SALT.

Preparing to take a role in the Trump administration after the election last year, he put the $12 billion fund of funds company up for sale. He struck a $200 million deal in January with the Chinese conglomerate HNA Group and investment partner RON Transatlantic EG, according to The Wall Street Journal at the time.

The deal has not yet closed. "The close is proceeding as planned and is going through customary regulatory approvals," a SkyBridge spokesman told CNBC on Friday. "We are confident it will close this summer. We had originally expected it would close by the end of June but things can move more slowly than anticipated sometimes in Washington."

SALT, the conference business, is to be spun off as a separate entity.

Scaramucci doesn't come to the White House communications role with a media background per se, but he was once a regular CNBC contributor on such shows as "Fast Money," and he later became a contributor to Fox News and Fox Business. He revived an old PBS show called "Wall Street Week" in 2015 and hosted it weekly on Fox Business.

Anthony Scaramucci in 2010: Wall Street feels like a 'piñata'

During a 2010 CNBC town hall, he asked President Barack Obama when the White House would stop treating bankers like "a pinata."

He joins the White House's inner circle at a time when it is engulfed in the investigation over campaign ties to Russians.

Three CNN news employees resigned earlier this year after the news organization retracted a story about a Russian investment fund with ties to Trump officials, naming Scaramucci, who denied wrongdoing and accepted CNN's apology.