Steven Terner Mnuchin, a Wall Street financier with Hollywood ties, who plays a banker in Warren Beatty’s Rules Don’t Apply, has been named Donald Trump’s Treasury secretary. Not coincidentally, Mnuchin, 53, was national finance chairman for Trump’s successful presidential campaign.
A familiar presence in Hollywood, he helped finance the X-Men franchise, Gravity, The LEGO Movie, Avatar, and Life of Pi.
He invested in such movies as Suicide Squad, George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road and was involved both in Clint Eastwood’s Sully and American Sniper.
Mnuchin, the son of a Goldman Sachs partner, started his career there, rising to become a partner before creating his own hedge fund, Dune Capital Management in 2002, and moving to the West Coast. Mnuchin had a piece of James Cameron’s Avatar through his Dune Entertainment and later hooked up socially with producer Brett Ratner before ending up partnering with RatPac. It was Ratner who introduced him to James Packer who agreed to partner with Dune. Packer’s commitment came after New Regency’s Arnon Milchan decided not to partner with Dune.
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Mnuchin was also part of a number of investors who put money into Relativity Media before the company went into bankruptcy; he even had a co-chairmanship title before he shut down the bank account taking $50M, thereby putting Relativity in a precarious position financially. Mnuchin was a vocal dissenter of Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh’s spending.
In April, after attending Trump’s victory party upon winning the New York Republican presidential primary – Mnuchin had worked with Trump on building deals years earlier – Trump offered him the national finance chairman gig for his campaign.
In August, when Bloomberg BusinessWeek noted Mnuchin “might have a shot at Treasury secretary,” the publication noted his Wall Street pedigree made him exactly the type of guy Trump supporters love to hate. In that campaign closing-argument infomercial Team Trump bought TV ad time to run in the walk up to Election Day, the chief exec of Goldman Sachs was portrayed as the very personification of a global elite that had “robbed our working class,” various news outlets have noted.
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