Goldman's Donovan still open to Treasury role, despite declining #2 spot

Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) partner Jim Donovan may have dropped out as President Trump’s nominee to serve as the next deputy Treasury secretary, but he is not closing the door on working with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and other members of the Trump administration.

"There’s a narrative that the administration is having issues and he’s bailing because of that and that’s just not true. He’d like to contribute in any way he can and could still be an informal adviser to this administration,” a spokesperson for Donovan told FOX Business adding, “He would also be open to going back to the Treasury in some other capacity,” although it’s too soon for Donovan to make that decision.

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On Friday, Donovan made a surprise announcement that he would be stepping away as the nominee for deputy Treasury secretary, citing family issues. “At this time I want to focus on my family, and I can no longer accept it (the nomination). I hope to be able to serve this administration in the future and fully support President Trump and Secretary Steven Mnuchin's ongoing work to reform the tax system and grow the U.S. economy,” Donovan said.

Donovan’s spokesperson also emphasized to FOX Business that he has no plans to step down from Goldman and wants to stay on at the firm despite family obligations. Donovan has been a Goldman partner and managing director for 24 years and was one of Mitt Romney’s top GOP fundraisers during his 2012 presidential run. He was also a marquee fundraiser and economic adviser for Jeb Bush when he was running for office in 2016.emphasized to FOX Business that Donovan has no plans to step down from Goldman and wants to stay on at the firm despite family obligations.

For Mnuchin, Donovan dropping out as deputy Treasury secretary is another blow to his department, which has struggled to nominate and retain anyone who would be willing to work there. The president has to name 28 people to the top positions at the Treasury and they will require Senate confirmation. So far, he's nominated 10 people, including Mnuchin, Donovan and David Malpass, who served as deputy assistant Treasury secretary under Ronald Reagan. Mnuchin is the only one to have been confirmed.

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Donovan’s withdrawal also means one less executive from the investment bank as part of the Trump administration, with Mnuchin and the Director of the National Economic Council, Gary Cohn,  being the other two former Goldman power players.

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin offered his support to Donovan through Tony Sayegh, a Treasury spokesperson: “Secretary Mnuchin offers Jim his support and friendship as he focuses his attention on his family. Jim has been an enormous asset to the department, helping recruit and fill many of the senior jobs at the Treasury. The secretary appreciates Jim’s continued support of the president and his administration.”

If Donovan functions as an informal advisor to the Trump administration, he won’t be alone.  The “President’s Strategic and Policy Forum,” led by Stephen Schwarzman, the chief executive at Blackstone Group (N YSE:BX), has a plethora of finance industry leaders who would likely be open to having Donovan join the team.

The group includes J.P. Morgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) chief executive Jamie Dimon, IBM (NYSE:IBM) chief executive Ginni Rometty, Cleveland Clinic chief executive Toby Cosgrove, BlackRock (NYSE:BLK) chief executive Larry Fink, Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) chief executive Bob Iger, and Walmart (NYSE:WMT) CEO Douglas McMillon, among others.