Former USDOT chief LaHood joins Meridiam

Former US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood has joined French fund manager Meridiam Infrastructure as a senior advisor.

Ray LaHood, who served as US Secretary of Transportation from 2009 until 2013, has joined Meridiam Infrastructure, the Paris-based investment firm said in a statement.

LaHood, a Republican who has been recognised for his bipartisan leadership and praised by President Barack Obama as “perhaps the finest chief the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) ever had”, will be a senior advisor to Meridiam North America, providing strategic guidance to the firm.

“As Meridiam's focus is on new, greenfield infrastructure projects, Ray's insight will help guide us as we look to bring innovative infrastructure solutions to communities across the US,” Meridiam’s chief executive and founding partner Thierry Déau said in an emailed response.

LaHood will be working closely with Meridiam North America chairman Jane Garvey and Déau.

Aside from his four-year term at the USDOT, LaHood has more than three decades of experience dealing with major transportation and infrastructure policy issues, according to the statement.

Previous roles included serving in the US House of Representatives from the 18th District of the state of Illinois from 1995 to 2009, during which time he served on various House committees, including the House Appropriations Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Between 1982 and 1994, LaHood served as chief of staff to US House Minority Leader Robert Michel.

As head of USDOT, LaHood supported high-speed rail and backed President Obama’s call for the creation of a national infrastructure bank.

Founded in 2005, fund manager Meridiam specialises in the development, financing, and management of long-term public infrastructure projects. In addition to its Paris headquarters, the investment firm also has offices in New York, Toronto and Istanbul.

The firm currently manages €2.8 billion of assets and has to date invested in 32 projects.