Last summer New Jersey Republican insider and former Chris Christie chief of staff Rich Bagger took a leave of absence from a top post at Celgene $CELG to take a place on the Trump campaign as executive director of the candidate’s transition team. A few days ago, that may have seemed like something of a dead-end assignment. But Trump’s upset victory has put Bagger squarely in the middle of the action on Wednesday.
He even made Politico’s list of candidates for Secretary of Health and Human Services — albeit as a dark horse.
Now that the former reality TV star and self-proclaimed multi-billionaire has put himself on the short path to the White House with a resounding win, the buzz is all about which of his top loyalists will make the Cabinet. Bagger hasn’t been the kind of high-profile politician to sit on the inner circle, like Christie, Rudy Giuliani, Florida Governor Rick Scott or Newt Gingrich. But his behind-the-scenes transition work hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Bagger stepped out of his EVP role as head of corporate affairs at Celgene to step back into the political scene. Celgene Executive Chairman Bob Hugin has been a Republican delegate and a deep-pocket enthusiast for Republican issues, even contributing $250,000 to America Leads, a Super PAC that backed Christie’s run for president.
Hugin would appear to have the personal phone numbers for a whole group of Trump insiders. And he has plenty of reason to be celebrating the win.
Celgene shares shot up more than 10% today as investors bought in big to the notion that a Trump presidency will leave any harsh pricing reforms on the shelf for the duration. The whole biopharma sector caught fire today as a new political wind fanned some fresh enthusiasm for long-suffering biotech stocks.
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