UPDATED: Steven Mnuchin, a hedge fund magnate and Hollywood financier, will be named President-elect Donald Trump’s secretary of the treasury. Mnuchin confirmed that he had been selected at Treasury secretary on CNBC‘s “Squawk Box” early Wednesday morning.
Mnuchin, who was the national finance chairman of Trump’s campaign, had been widely rumored to be under consideration for the post, even before Trump’s stunning upset in the Nov. 8 election.
He is well known in the entertainment industry as the financier behind Dune Entertainment, which help fund movies like the “X-Men” franchise, “Suicide Squad,” and “Mad Max: Fury Road.” He also joined with producer-director Brett Ratner and billionaire James Packer in another funding endeavor, Rat-Pac Dune Entertainment, and has been among the most prolific financiers in the industry. Among his successes have been “The LEGO Movie,” “American Sniper,” and “Sully,” along with misfires like “In the Heart of the Sea” and “Pan.” He also was briefly co-chairman of Relativity Media before the coming filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
A spokeswoman for Trump’s transition team did not immediately return a request for comment.
Mnuchin, 53, started his career at Goldman Sachs, and is the son of a Goldman Sachs partner. After leaving Goldman Sachs after 17 years, he founded Dune Capital Management, which was founded in 2004. He also was part of a team that bought IndyMac from the federal government in 2009. It was later renamed OneWest Bank Group, and he served as its chairman before it was sold last year.
Mnuchin was among those who bankrolled Warren Beatty’s “Rules Don’t Apply,” and he even has a cameo in the movie.
During the campaign, Trump had said that he would more aggressively go after China for currency manipulation. One worry in Hollywood has been whether the Chinese would retaliate in some way, like cutting back on its annual film quota. During the campaign, Mnuchin tried to assuage such fears while defending Trump. He told Variety that Trump “believes in free trade and fair trade” and that he “believes that if they are going to be able to open markets, they should be in both directions.”
Democrats quickly seized on the choice, noting that it contradicted Trump’s populist campaign rhetoric, in which he hammered rival Hillary Clinton for her paid speeches to Goldman Sachs. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said that Mnuchin “spent two decades at Goldman Sachs helping the bank peddle the same kind of mortgage products that blew up the economy and sucked down billions in taxpayer bailout money before he moved on to run a bank that was infamous for aggressively foreclosing on families.”
In 2011, protesters gathered in front of Mnuchin’s home in Bel-Air to protest OneWest’s foreclosure on homeowners, according to Bloomberg News.