“Overhaul: An Insider’s Account of the Obama Administration’s Emergency Rescue of the Auto Industry,” By Steven Rattner; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 336 Pages
Joshua A. Lustig
Hedge Fund Law Report
In early 2009, Steven Rattner found himself appointed as the nation’s “auto czar” by President Barack Obama, with a mandate to rescue General Motors and Chrysler. Rattner, a former Lazard investment banker, ran the private equity firm Quadrangle Group LLC, which was known for media and telecom deals, and for managing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s fortune, but he had little experience with the manufacturing sector. Although he may have seemed an unlikely savior, Rattner has written a memoir claiming that he and his handpicked “Team Auto” should be credited with one of the most important successes of the Obama administration. Rattner gives a detailed account of the rapid restructuring of the companies through accelerated bankruptcy proceedings. He asserts that his handiwork has left GM and Chrysler viable and competitive, giving taxpayers a reasonable chance of recovering most of the $82 billion in federal aid received by the carmakers. While that judgment may be premature, with initial public offerings still pending, there have been some encouraging signs of progress. Our book reviewer, Joshua A. Lustig, offers a comprehensive review of Rattner’s new memoir.