As far as business leaders who tried their hand at politics go, Bloomberg is probably the most well-known and successful examples albeit without running for president in a US election. The man behind his self-titled financial data and media company made billions of dollars before taking the view that politics was the logical next step.
Having started at a Wall Street investment bank, he used a hefty redundancy package to set up a business called Market Systems looking to provide the New York money men the financial data he knew they were in need of.
That company became Bloomberg in the late 1980s, after which the likes of Bloomberg News, Bloomberg Message and Bloomberg Tradebook were set up.
Bloomberg’s first dabble with politics came in 2001 when looked to take over from incumbent New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was unable to run again after two terms in office. Voting in the primary for the Republican party nomination began on September 11, 2001, but was suspended because of the terror attacks. Having beaten Herman Badilo to the nomination, he received 50.3 per cent of the public vote preventing Mark Green from winning for the Democrats.
Four years later and Bloomberg won the right to serve another term, this time upping his popular vote to 58.4 per cent a 20 per cent margin. Such was his confidence as mayor of New York that he looked to extend the city’s term limits law and run for a third term in 2009. This effort was successful, and based largely on his claim that a man with business experience was key to helping the city through the aftermath of the financial crash.
When he finally gave up office in 2013, 12 years after first taking up the role as mayor, he left a $2.4bn budget surplus, a city reported after the 9/11 terrorist attack and 2009 financial meltdown and a reduced crime rate. However, the homeless population had grown, salaries had not tracked the increased cost of living and the tension between the city’s police force and minorities was beginning to pick up steam.
There had been speculation that Bloomberg would run in the US election for president in 2008, and again in 2012 and 2016. However, he has moved to reject such rumours each time and has subsequently backed Democratic nominee Hilary Clinton for president.