A new job for Al Gore

By Will Lester, The Associated Press
Tuesday November 20, 2001

Former politician named vice chairman of LA financial services firm 


WASHINGTON — Al Gore has accepted the job of vice chairman of a Los Angeles-based financial services holding company. The former vice president will help the firm find investments overseas as well as private-equity investments in biotechnology and information technology. 

Gore will add the new job at Metropolitan West Financial to his other duties as college professor, guest speaker and writing a book with his wife Tipper about the American family. 

That crowded resume doesn’t address the biggest pending question about the former vice president and 2000 Democratic presidential nominee — his political future. 

“He hasn’t made any decisions about campaigns in his future and that’s still true today,” Gore spokeswoman Kiki McLean said Monday. Gore has formed a political action committee and has made trips to Iowa and New Hampshire to talk with old friends and political allies this fall. 

But associates say he hasn’t made a decision about whether he will run for president even though he’s taking steps to keep his options open. 

Gore will not be moving to Los Angeles, but will travel between New York, Los Angeles, his teaching jobs in Tennessee and his home in the Virginia suburbs of Washington. 

He will continue to serve as a research professor focusing on family-centered community building at the University of California-Los Angeles, and will continue to teach classes on the subject at Middle Tennessee State University and Fisk University, both in his home state of Tennessee. 

Gore said in a statement that he has worked on business and economic issues “from the perspective of a public servant engaged in public policy and I am eager to learn more about business as an active executive.” 

Neither company officials nor Gore aides would discuss what he would be paid in his new job with the company. 

Metwest is a fast-growing firm that is not widely known outside the financial community, though it manages just over $51 billion in assets through several affiliates. It is one of the biggest securities lenders in the U.S. 

The company was founded almost a decade ago when Richard Hollander, who once headed a Drexel Burnham Lambert investment-grade bond sales team on the West Coast, bought a securities lending branch of Security Pacific Bank soon after its merger with Bank of America. 

Hollander said he met Gore last spring at a lunch with mutual friends and liked what he heard from him. 

“We got to know him better and had a strong feeling about his intellect and integrity,” Hollander said. 

Metwest has clients such as the California Public Employees Retirement System, Boeing Employees Federal Credit Union, Florida state board of administration and Microsoft. Several managers of the firm are former California state officials. 

Metwest has rapidly grown as it acquired other firms that manage stocks and bonds and provide wealth management advice to retired airline pilots. 

Dwight Morris of the nonpartisan Campaign Study Group said politicians who join private firms and later come back to politics can face difficult decisions. 

“He’s got to have a job,” Morris said. “I don’t think people would assume he would leave government and never work again ... What the public would expect, should he decide to run for president, is that he divest himself of any interests in the company before running for office.” 

Morris noted the example of Vice President Cheney, an executive with Halliburton Co., a Dallas-based energy services company. When Cheney was picked as the vice presidential candidate, questions were raised about the company’s financial dealings with government, company policies and Cheney’s stock holdings. But Morris noted: “The fallout for Cheney lasted a short time.” 


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