When UC Berkeley hired a new investment-banker-turned-vice-chancellor to help the school negotiate the intricacies of the financial world, they didn’t mention one of his most powerful connections.
The press release from Marie Felde, the university’s executive director of media relations, mentioned past employers Citigroup, Lehman Brothers and Salomon Smith Barney—names certain to worry Free Speech Movement veterans and those with similar outlooks.
But she didn’t cite the one employer absolutely certain to set their blood boiling, an outfit that included some of the nation’s leading retired spooks and neocons—the Carlyle Group.
Dubbed “The ex-presidents’ club” by the British newspaper The Guardian, the company has employed ex-president and CIA chief George Bush, a former British prime minister, ex-World Bank executives and the former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency and, until a month after 9/11, numbered among their major investors a certain Saudi Arabian family with a black sheep scion named Osama.
It was Frank Carlucci, former CIA deputy director and secretary of state, who announced on June 16, 1998, that the Carlyle Group had hired Frank D. Yeary to open its New York office and guide the group’s global and domestic media and telecommunications investments.
Before his move to the Carlyle group, Yeary had “provided advice in a number of landmark transactions in the industry,” declared the official announcement, including the acquisition of Ameritech by SBC Global, the purchase of CBS by Westinghouse and the merger of Pacific Telesis (formerly Pac Bell) with SBC Global.
“Frank Yeary is one of the most talented media and telecommunications professionals on Wall Street,” declared Carlucci, then chairman of the company.
The consolidation of communications companies has long been the subject of criticism by some faculty of the university’s graduate school of journalism and the subject of a book by now-retired Dean Ben Bagdikian.
Yeary left Carlyle in 2001 to join Citigroup.
In a prepared statement, UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau said, “The critical purpose for bringing Frank Yeary into this position is to strengthen our position through strategies that blend public and private support and that take advantage of opportunities, partnerships and alliances” in light of the volatility of state funding.
A California native and a Cal graduate, Yeary will assume his new duties in August after he winds up his affairs as managing director in charge of global mergers and acquisitions at Citigroup Corporate Investment Bank.
A member of the university’s Berkeley Foundation Board of Trustees, Yeary may also teach some classes at Haas School of Business, Felde reported.
Yeary has also donated cash to the presidential campaign of another Carlyle alum, George W. Bush, who left the group when he ran for Governor of Texas. The July 14, 1999, $1,000 donation came while he was employed at Carlyle, according to Congressional Quarterly’s online database.
Four years later Yeary gave John Kerry $2,000. More recently, he has donated to both John McCain and Barrack Obama—$2,300 for McCain early last year and $4,600 to Obama this year.
Yeary is also making another, larger donation—this one to the university itself. Felde reported that he is giving his entire $200,000 salary back to the campus.