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Gov. Brown places his jobs advisor on bullet train board

August 24, 2011 |  6:24 pm

Photo: California Gov. Jerry Brown. Credit: Sandra Chereb / Associated Press Gov. Jerry Brown appointed an advisor, Michael Rossi, to the board of the California High-Speed Rail Authority on Wednesday. Rossi is Brown’s senior advisor for jobs and business development and had a long banking and finance career prior to joining his Democratic administration.

Rossi was placed in the position held until Wednesday by David Crane, who was appointed by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and who also serves on the UC Board of Regents.

It is the second appointment in the past week that Brown has made to the authority, which has a number of executive positions vacant and is trying to prepare for the start of rail construction next year. Rossi is also the second financial expert that Brown has appointed to the project as it faces serious long-term issues over how it will secure all of the tens of billions of dollars it will need to complete the Los Angeles to San Francisco system.

Before joining the Brown administration, Rossi was an advisor and senior member to the operations team at Cerberus Capital Management, the private-equity firm best known for taking over Chrysler Corp. in 2007 and then giving up control in the bankruptcy of 2009. Rossi worked at Cerberus from 2005 to 2008.

Prior to that he was chairman of GMAC Residential Capital as the financial crisis was unfolding and chief executive of Aozore Bank, which is based in Japan. Rossi had an absence of eight years, “retired from the private sector,” spending time surfing and relaxing with his family from 1997 to 2005, according to Brown's press office. Before that retirement, he held a long series of jobs at Bank of America.


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-- Ralph Vartabedian

Photo: California Gov. Jerry Brown. Credit: Sandra Chereb / Associated Press