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Mark Gallogly (right) sits with former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at the White House in November 2009. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Mark Gallogly, a private-equity titan who's been working for John Kerry to line up private-sector financing to combat climate change and serve as a liaison to the business community, is leaving the administration, Axios has learned.

The big picture: Gallogly is departing almost as quietly as he joined, with one difference: Kerry, President Biden's special envoy for climate, is publicly acknowledging his role — and his contributions.

  • “When I was appointed to this role, Mark was among the first people I called on to join the effort,” Kerry said in a statement to Axios.
  • “In recent months, he’s brought his considerable private-sector experience, financial acumen and climate activism to bear in facilitating productive conversations with the financial institutions and companies that will be key to implementing the ambitious climate solutions we need.”
  • Gallogly retired in 2020 from Centerbridge Partners, a private-equity firm he co-founded after 16 years at Blackstone. He never was expected to stay at the State Department long-term. His last day was Wednesday.

Why it matters: Gallogly’s departure is a sign Kerry's international climate office is past its startup phase and has established crucial inroads with Wall Street, ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November.

  • Gallogly's arrival at State, first reported by Axios in March, caused consternation among progressives, who questioned why Kerry — a former secretary of State and senator — was working with someone with a background in private equity.
  • But Kerry has made it clear he thinks private-sector financing is vital to reducing carbon emissions by funding clean technologies.
  • In April, the White House touted pledges from JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup to steer trillions of dollars into sustainability efforts.

Go deeper: As the White House works to get its infrastructure proposals through Congress, it's highlighting the green-energy provisions in the $579 billion bipartisan deal.

  • It's also telegraphing that the president has much more planned for climate.
  • The White House plans to use the filibuster-proof budget reconciliation process to mandate that power companies adopt a “clean-energy standard,” Axios reported Tuesday.

Go deeper

Updated Sep 23, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on investing in advanced climate tech

On Thursday, September 23rd, Axios business editor Dan Primack and Axios Today host Niala Boodhoo explored how alternative energy investments toward climate solutions function in the private and public sector today, featuring Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Galvanize Climate Solutions co-founder Tom Steyer.

Sen. Ron Wyden explained his support for overhauling the existing tax code to incentivize companies to reduce their emissions, his belief that all Americans should pay their fair share of taxes, and Congressional efforts to increase electric vehicle usage.

  • On his support for modifying the tax code: “One of the little secrets about the tax code is that many billionaires pay little or no income taxes. The way they do that is they don’t take a wage, and so Americans have read all these stories about prominent billionaires paying virtually nothing in the way of income taxes for years and years on end. I don’t think that’s right.”
  • On the future trajectory of electric vehicles: “Getting a critical mass of these electric vehicles on the road is going to bring down costs. It’s going to be good for the environment, good for marketplace forces, and the American economy.”

Tom Steyer highlighted the importance of cleaning up electricity generation across the country, how the climate tech investment landscape has changed over the last decade, and what areas of climate tech he believes need more attention and investment.

  • On the future of the infrastructure and reconciliation bills: “I believe that the Democratic Party will come to a negotiated place which will include very important climate regulations, climate initiatives, and that specifically they will be encouraging the move to clean electricity generation across the United States during this decade.”
  • On the need for more tangible innovations in climate tech: “It’s going to be incredibly important for us too to do well in the businesses like manufacturing, where you can touch the product. We have dominated the kinds of businesses like software that you can’t touch.”

Axios co-founder and CEO Jim VandeHei hosted a View from the Top segment with HSBC’s Group Chief Sustainability Officer Celine Herweijer, who discussed how sustainability is moving to the forefront of many corporations’ long-term goals.

  • “We’ve committed to essentially have a net zero target across all of our finance commissions portfolio. So to be able to do that, that means fundamentally changing how we finance it, fundamentally changing our risk appetite, changing our culture, our policies, our processes of capability.”

Thank you HSBC for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper: Get smarter, faster on the growing field of climate tech with our free short course.

Stock buybacks boom as corporate cash piles grow

The Delta variant is keeping more companies cautious about how to invest the mountains of cash they have at their disposal. That hesitancy has led, in part, to corporate spending on stock buybacks outpacing capital expenditures this year. 

Why it matters: Companies hoarded cash and raised prices over the past year — leaving them with a lot of money and decisions about what to do with it.

2 hours ago - Health

Health policies at stake in Democrats' infrastructure bet

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Democrats are at a pivotal moment in their quest to expand health care coverage, slash the cost of prescription drugs and create a social structure that prioritizes people's health.

Driving the news: Democrats have a clear list of health care priorities they'll be fighting for this week. Among them is a measure to expand Medicare to cover dental, vision and hearing benefits.

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