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Blog Post | February 3, 2021

The Revolving Door’s Power Couple: Heidi Crebo-Rediker And Doug Rediker

2020 Election/Transition
The Revolving Door’s Power Couple: Heidi Crebo-Rediker And Doug Rediker

Heidi Crebo-Rediker has been publicly floated as a potential pick to serve as a high-level Treasury Department official. DC’s self-dealing politico culture means her husband, Doug Rediker, is also in the mix for a Biden administration job. This news is deeply concerning, given the couple’s shared history cashing in on their insider government ties as the founders of geopolitical investment advisory firm, International Capital Strategies. Heidi and Doug’s history of revolving between Wall Street and government should give any neutral observer pause.

Heidi and Doug began their careers on Wall Street, where they spent the years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis working for powerful financial institutions like Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns.

  • Before her career in the public sector, Heidi worked as an investment banker for Bankers Trust, Merrill Lynch, BNP Paribas, and the now-defunct Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns.
  • In the late 1990s, Heidi and Doug both worked for Western banks profiting from the collapse of the Soviet Union. Heidi was Head of Emerging Markets and Debt Capital Markets focused on Russia at Lehman Brothers, while Doug worked for Salomon Brothers and Merrill Lynch. Doug facilitated the privatizations of major public utilities across the former Soviet Union.
  • The ill-conceived and poorly-executed privatization of the former Soviet bloc had devastating consequences, including an unprecedented decline in living standards across Eastern Europe. Privatization also fueled the rise of oligarchs who grew wealthy as the private owners of utilities that used to be public. 

Heidi and Doug left Wall Street just as the economy collapsed in 2008 and joined the New America Foundation, where they promoted policies that would enrich their former employers.

  • The New American Foundation is a Google-funded industry front that ousted staff who dared criticize Google. 
  • After working in the industry largely to blame for the 2008 financial crisis, Heidi and Doug went to the New America Foundation, where they opposed financial regulations, claiming they would “deter foreign investment.”
  • Heidi and Doug’s Global Strategic Finance Initiative promoted the use of harmful sanctions, pro-corporate trade policies, and foreign sovereign wealth funds that fund big banks to solve foreign policy and national security issues.
  • Heidi and Doug pushed for increased private investment in public projects despite growing evidence that these partnerships are bad deals for the public. 

As the State Department’s chief economist under Secretary Hillary Clinton, Heidi pushed for economic statecraft, a policy agenda that has had devastating political and economic consequences abroad.

  • In 2012, Secretary Hillary Clinton named Heidi as the State Department’s first chief economist. During her tenure, Heidi helped implement economic statecraft, an agenda that promoted pro-corporate trade policy (including the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership) and the use of financial markets to respond to foreign policy issues.
  • American economic statecraft in Latin American countries led to economic and political upheaval in Nicaragua and Venezuela.

After leaving the public sector, Heidi and Doug formed a boutique consulting firm, International Capital Strategies (ICS), that touts Heidi’s White House connections and Doug’s international finance experience to sell their “relationship value-add” to wealthy clients seeking advice on political and economic issues. 

  • ICS uses connections and inside knowledge built through years of public service to advise corporations and financial institutions on how geopolitical issues will affect financial markets. The firm does not disclose its clients.
  • ICS’s senior adviser was head of global energy markets at BP Oil.

Heidi served on the board of asset advisory firm Campbell Lutyens, advising the firm’s private equity transactions.

  • In 2018, Heidi joined the advisory board of Campbell Lutyens’ U.S. branch, which advised clients on “primary fund placement and secondary transactions across private equity, infrastructure, and private debt.”

Heidi joined a task force at the Center for a New America Security (CNAS), along with several corporate lobbyists and executives, that supported the implementation of harmful sanctions. 

  • CNAS takes money from military contractors including Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, Booz Allen Hamilton, Boeing, Raytheon, and more.
  • In 2019, Heidi joined CNAS’s Task Force on the Future of U.S. Coercive Economic Statecraft. Other members of the task force included lobbyists for Visa, ExxonMobil, IBM, Intel, Chevron, and Citigroup.
  • The task force published a report arguing that sanctions were “critical for U.S. security.”
  • U.S. sanctions on Iran, Venezuela and other countries have severely constrained access to vital goods, like life-saving medications, foods, and has directly led to skyrocketing housing and food prices. In the 1990s, American sanctions against Iraq led to the death of 576,000 Iraqi children. 

Doug sits on the board of Cowen Inc., a financial services company that services union busters, Big Tech firms, and offshore oil companies according to Pitchbook reports.

  • Cowen provided various financial products to Yogaworks, a private-equity owned yoga chain. Yogaworks vociferously opposed the landmark first successful union drive by yoga instructors and implored their workers not to sign union cards.
  • Cowen worked for XPO Logistics. A 2020 report published by a group of 11 global labor unions blasted XPO Logistics’ global supply chain for exploitative and abusive labor practices, writing that “behind the glossy marketing, are supply chains mired in worker exploitation, a cavalier and even negligent approach to safety that has led to injury and death, and a company where workers who protest against pregnancy discrimination and harassment are met by retaliation.”
  • Cowen serviced Big Tech firms Uber, Lyft, and AirBnB in undisclosed capacities,
  • One of Cowen’s clients includes Contango Oil And Gas, which operates over a dozen offshore drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico and hundreds of Texan oil wells.

Doug served as the U.S. representative on the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during the height of their catastrophic response to the Greek debt crisis. 

  • Under Doug’s leadership, the IMF enforced brutal social spending cuts, blanket privatizations and disastrous austerity upon the people of Greece. GDP dropped by a quarter and youth unemployment reached 33%. Open Democracy wrote that Greece “experienced the most extraordinary economic devastation in a country not plagued by civil or external war […] under the tutelage of the IMF.” 
  • IMF officials “stood firmly on the side of European the creditors” despite knowing that their austerity demands would “strangle the Greek economy” and make them unable to repay their debt at all. With Rediker at the head, the IMF overrode their own policies to prevent Greece from qualifying for debt forgiveness.
  • The IMF’s own auditors later concluded that the IMF’s Greek bailout program “shield[ed] both private creditors and wealthy elites” at the expense of the working class.

Photo Credit: “Douglas A Rediker, IMF with Heidi Crebo-Rediker and Ambassador Philip Lader, Chairman, WPP” by Financial Times photos is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

2020 Election/Transition

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