Dec 15, 2016, 6:38am EST
Jeff Blumenthal, Reporter Philadelphia Business Journal
At just 59, he wanted to remain active in public policy matters while earning a decent income. He didn’t want to be tied down to a single position after exiting the grueling time commitments of being mayor.
When Michael Nutter’s term as Philadelphia mayor expired in January, it was the first time in a quarter century that he did not hold elected office. At just 59, he wanted to remain active in public policy matters while earning a decent income. He didn’t want to be tied down to a single position after exiting the grueling time commitments of being mayor.
I never anticipated I would just do one job,” Nutter said. “I wanted to do a few independent things and hoped the opportunities would come.”
And they did. Nutter was hired as a CNN political contributor, a faculty member at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, a senior fellow for a campaign called What Works Cities that helps midsize cities better leverage data. He is chair of Airbnb’s advisory board, executive fellow at Drexel University’s Lebow College of Business and adviser to venture capital firm Ekistic Ventures. And starting next year, a board member for publicly traded Xerox spinoff Conduent Corp.
Those are just the paid positions. So with his services obviously in demand, Nutter decided to put everything under the same umbrella and filed paperwork over the summer to form Michael A. Nutter Advisors, a public policy advisory firm, providing a variety of services to public, nonprofit and corporate entities.
In an interview this week, Nutter said he wanted to wait until after the presidential election before formally launching the venture. As someone who supported Hillary Clinton over President Obama back in 2008, he was viewed as a person who might be considered for a key role in the former secretary of state’s administration. But with Donald Trump’s victory last month, that became moot.
“I was supposed to co-chair the review of the U.S. Department of Transportation for the Clinton transition team,” Nutter said. “There was speculation about a Cabinet appointment but I am very happy doing what I’m doing.”
As of now, he only has one employee and does not have a formal office for the business — though he does retain offices at Drexel and Columbia. He would like to open a location in Philadelphia and is looking at the various co-working spaces that he saw evolve as mayor. That would afford him the ability to be flexible with real estate commitments as the business grows and he adds more employees.
“There are lots of ways to measure success for your business. For me, it’s seeing the impact of the advice I will be giving,” Nutter said. “My mindset with the business is to generate some income that will allow me the freedom to engage in public policy work and contribute to the debate and dialogue that I enjoy. I’m having a ball now.”
Jeff Blumenthal covers banking, insurance and law.