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Wall Street Financier To Advise Auto Task Force

Steven Rattner will lead a team advising Treasury Secretary Geithner and White House economic aide Larry Summers on the future of GM and Chrysler.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Wall Street financier will advise the government's auto industry task force reviewing the restructuring of General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC, his private investment firm said Monday.

Steven Rattner, co-founder of Quadrangle Group LLC, will serve as counselor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Rattner, who has focused on media and communications private equity, will lead a team advising Geithner and White House economic aide Larry Summers on the future of GM and Chrysler.

Rattner had been a leading candidate to become the so-called "car czar." But President Barack Obama decided instead to name a task force led by Geithner and Summers to review $17.4 billion in federal loans to GM and Chrysler and their requests for billions more in aid.

Quadrangle Group announced Monday that Rattner was leaving his role as managing principal of the firm to take the Treasury position.

A Treasury spokesman did not immediately comment on the announcement.

Obama's auto task force held its first meeting on Friday and is working with the companies, the United Auto Workers union, bondholders and other stakeholders to force concessions and develop a restructuring of GM and Chrysler by March 31.

If the companies fail to make a convincing case, the Obama administration could pull the loans, which could force the companies into bankruptcy and threaten hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Rattner will join a team that is composed of other members of Obama's Cabinet including the secretaries of Transportation, Commerce, Labor and Energy as well as the heads of several government agencies.

Rattner, who co-founded Quadrangle Group in 2000, previously served as deputy chairman and deputy chief executive officer of Lazard Freres & Co. LLC. He is a former reporter with The New York Times and is married to Maureen White, a former national finance chair of the Democratic National Committee.

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