Like the whirlwind trips in and out of bankruptcy for GM and Chrysler, Steve Rattner is leaving Washington just a few months after stepping into a high profile position with the Treasury Department. Rattner is leaving the Auto Task Force and heading back to private life in the investment world. Talk about making a splash and then getting out of town.
Rattner leaves after four months that completely re-shaped the industry. Think about it. Since March, both GM and Chrysler have gone in and out of bankruptcy, started shedding tens of thousands of jobs, replaced two CEOs, and cut tens of billions in debt obligations. It's not a stretch to say the tenure of Rattner in D.C. may have had the biggest impact on the auto industry in decades.
Within the auto industry Rattner was not a favorite. He was clearly respected, but rarely admired. That's not surprising given the fact he ran a task force that had to recommend the White House make tough choices for GM, Chrysler, and auto suppliers.
Somebody had to say no, things are changing. Somebody had to say the days of "business as usual" are over. Somebody had to make a lot of people in the auto industry swallow some bitter medicine. Rattner and his team did that, and it's the reason many in Detroit are glad to see him leave D.C. Some of those feelings are sour grapes, some are legitimate.
Rattner heads back to New York where he will once again get immersed in Wall Street. His time in Washington is over, but the impact of his actions while in the D.C. will be felt for years to come.
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