Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Treasury Secretary

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This morning's New York Times carries the story of John F. W. Rodgers, chief of staff to Hank Paulson at Goldman. He's the guy who gets things done for the top men. You have to sort of love guys like Rodgers. It's either "love" or "fear" and we forget which.

Friends of Mr. Rogers, who does not welcome public scrutiny and declined to comment for this article, compare him to the George Smiley character in John Le Carré's spy novels. Mr. Rogers, a slight, retiring man with a preference for tan raincoats, brings the kind of technical staff expertise and, his friends say, the ability to gravitate toward the seat of power in bureaucracies that recall Le Carré's spymaster.

More excerpts and a link to the article after the jump.

More than anything, they say, he understands how to make himself indispensable to powerful people.
His experience in Washington dates to the mid-1970's, when he juggled an internship in the Ford White House with his bachelor's degree program at George Washington University.
His first connection was to David R. Gergen, who joined the Ford administration as a counselor to the president and later served presidents from Richard M. Nixon to Bill Clinton.
As Mr. Gergen tells the story, on his first day at work, he asked how he could secure some furniture for his empty office in the Old Executive Office Building. He was told he could call the General Services Administration and wait two months or call Mr. Rogers, then a 19-year-old intern, for quicker results.
"The next day I had a desk, a couch, a TV set and artwork," Mr. Gergen recalled. "I can say that I discovered the phenomenon of John Rogers. I was so impressed with his enterprise that I said, 'Will you come work for me?' "
Mr. Rogers's career ascended swiftly. He joined Mr. Baker in 1981 when he was named Mr. Reagan's chief of staff and was on the ground, plugging in phones and hanging pictures on the walls as the new administration set up shop.
Over time, his responsibilities increased. He moved with Mr. Baker to the Treasury, where he was an assistant secretary for management and, after a period in private business, returned with Mr. Baker, becoming under secretary of state for management.
In 1994, he joined Goldman Sachs, where his ability to make the trains run on time endeared him to superiors.

Uhm, isn't the phrase "make the trains run on time" a reference to being more an effecient office manager? What exactly is the Times trying to say here?
A Seamless Major Domo, on Wall St. or in Washington [New York Times]

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