For those who collect stats about how many billionaires will be represented in Donald Trump's administration, prepare to make some extra room because according to Bloomberg, David McCormick, president of the world's biggest hedge fund Bridgewater, is the front-runner for the post of deputy defense secretary, according to three people familiar with the presidential transition.
Previously McCormick was also eyed as a possible Treasury secretary, however that position ultimately went to former Goldman partner Steve Mnuchin.
On the surface, McCormick's bio is impressive: he was a key member of the international team responding to the financial crisis in 2008 when Hank Paulson led the Treasury Department. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The former army official who served in the first Gulf War, McCormick is now president of Bridgewater Associates, which is run by Ray Dalio and has about $150 billion in assets.
As Bloomberg also notes, McCormick brings four years of government experience, first at the Commerce Department and then as a national security adviser for international economic policy for former President George W. Bush. His work at Commerce included overseeing export controls, which put him at the center of negotiations that led the U.S. to allow India to import nuclear technology.
The Bridgewater president also has much needed experience in dealing with China: as undersecretary for international affairs from 2007 to 2009, he urged China to appreciate its currency, boost domestic demand, although he spoke out against protectionist policies in the U.S. and abroad. It is unclear how his pro free trade vision would coexist with Trump's stated interest to impose tariffs on Chinese imports.
As Bloomberg adds, Mccormick’s recent interview with Trump and Mattis impressed them both very much. Trump also met with McCormick on Nov. 20 at Trump’s golf course in Bedminster, N.J. They talked about "global financial markets, currency and the American economy," according to a news release from transition officials. "Special emphasis was placed on restoring long-term economic growth rates on an annual basis of four to five percent."
But what the above really means is that in the coming days, a job opening for president at Bridgewater - one of Wall Street's most desired and important positions - is about to open. Who replaces McCormick will be closely watched by all Wall Street participants.