Senior Advisor, Vestar Capital Partners;
Former United States Secretary of Energy and Transportation;
Former Mayor, Denver, Colorado
The Honorable Federico F. Peña is a Senior Advisor at Vestar Capital Partners, a leading global private equity firm. The firm’s investment strategy is targeted towards companies in the U.S. with valuations in the $150 million to $1.5 billion range. Since the firm’s founding in 1988, the Vestar funds have completed over 69 investments in companies with a total value of over $40 billion. These companies have varied in size and geography and span a broad range of industries. The firm’s strategy is to invest behind incumbent management teams, family owners, or corporations in a creative, flexible and entrepreneurial way with the overriding goal to build long-term franchise value. Vestar currently manages funds with committed capital totaling approximately $8 billion and has offices in New York, Boston and Denver.
Prior to joining Vestar, Peña served as U.S. Secretary of Energy (1997–1998) and U.S. Secretary of Transportation (1993–1997). Before serving in the Cabinet, Peña was President and CEO of Peña Investment Advisors (1991–1993) and Mayor of the City of Denver(1983–1991).
As Secretary of Energy, Peña developed the administration’s Comprehensive National Energy Strategy and oversaw the largest privatization in the history of the U.S. Government, the $3.65 billion sale of the Elk Hills Petroleum Reserve to Occidental Petroleum. Peña crafted the Clinton Administration’s strategy for oil and gas development in the Caspian Sea region and was instrumental in supporting energy investments in Russia.
As Secretary of Transportation, Peña implemented the first international aviation policy for the United States since the Carter administration. This strategy opened up aviation markets around the world, contributing to the revitalization of the U.S. airline industry. Peña traveled extensively throughout the world to assist U.S. transportation companies access global markets. He also led the Administration’s effort to support the privatization of the U.S. transportation systems and infrastructure.
While Denver’s Mayor for eight years, Peña reversed the city’s budget deficit and led the revitalization of Denver’s economy. He initiated numerous urban infrastructure projects including the new international airport, new convention center, the arts center, and the library. Peña’s efforts are credited with contributing to the revival of Denver’s new vibrant and dynamic economy.
Peña currently serves on the boards of Wells Fargo & Company, Sonic Corp. and Toyota’s North American Diversity Advisory Board. He is also National Co-Chair of COMPETE, an organization dedicated to fostering competition in the electricity market. Peña was National Co-Chair of Obama for America and a national board member of the Obama-Biden Transition.
Peña is originally from Brownsville, Texas and has J.D. and B.A. degrees from the University of Texas. He lives in Denver with his wife, the former Cindy Velasquez, and their four children.