As undersecretary for domestic finance, Weiss, 48, would coordinate policies on banking, debt financing, capital markets and regulation. The undersecretary, who is subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate, also works on implementation of the Dodd-Frank financial law.Institutional Investor in 2009 provided some background on Weiss:
Weiss followed an unusual path to banking. In 1988 he earned a bachelor's degree in comparative literature from Yale University, where he edited the campus literary magazine, then was hired as a senior editor at New York-based Paris Review by the magazine's late founder, journalist and adventurer George Plimpton. "I was smart enough to know there was no hope of my becoming George Plimpton, so I quickly went and did something else," notes Weiss.
Intrigued by tales of swashbuckling Wall Street, Weiss did a two-year-long investment banking training program at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette in 1990, then went to Harvard Business School for an MBA before joining Lazard in 1994 as an associate banker. He hasn't forgotten his first passion, though, remaining a contributor and adviser at Paris Review and becoming its publisher last year.
In 1997, as one of the Lazard bankers advising ITT Corp. on a hostile takeover offer from Hilton Hotels Corp., Weiss was reminded of the value of diplomacy. ITT ended up spinning off its auto-parts business and selling its Sheraton Hotel unit to white knight Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide for $10.5 billion in shares and cash rather than accept an all-cash bid from Hilton, whose then-CEO, Stephen Bollenbach, had alienated ITT by calling its then-CEO, Rand Araskog, a "superweenie."
Lazard sent Weiss to its Paris office in 2002 to help expand the firm's operations in continental Europe. Weiss broadened the franchise beyond Lazard's French stronghold by picking up corporate takeover mandates from companies such as Italian automaker Fiat, Swiss food producer Nestl& and German engineering group Siemens. In 2006 the bank named him one of three vice chairmen of European investment banking.