Pawlenty to head financial services lobby

Tim Pawlenty
Tim Pawlenty speaking at the 2012 Republican National Convention

Tim Pawlenty, the former Republican governor of Minnesota who criticized Wall Street while running for president last year, is joining the Financial Services Roundtable as president and CEO.

Mr. Pawlenty will take over from Steve Bartlett, who is retiring as CEO of the Washington-based group that represents 100 of the biggest financial services companies, including J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup. The new job means quitting his post as national co-chairman of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, Mr. Pawlenty said Thursday.

In an interview last year before he ended his presidential run and joined the Romney campaign, Mr. Pawlenty said his “truth message to Wall Street is going to be, ‘Get your snout out of the trough.’”

“Obviously, I was one of the voices saying we need to fix the problems,” Mr. Pawlenty said in an interview Thursday. “There’s been an attempt to fix them. Now we just need to make sure they don’t overreach and stifle economic investment and job growth.”

Mr. Pawlenty, who campaigned as a “Sam’s Club Republican” concerned with issues affecting the middle class, will represent the interests of the large financial firms across a broad range of businesses, from insurance giants such as State Farm Insurance and money managers including BlackRock (BLK) to payment networks like Visa.

Mr. Pawlenty, who begins his new job Nov. 1, joins the trade group as it works to influence implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act.

“We went through a big crisis, had a big reform take place,” Mr. Pawlenty said in Thursday’s interview, adding the job now is to insist the changes don’t discourage capital deployment and employment growth: “It’s not a question of repealing Dodd-Frank. It’s a question of refining it.”