After months of hanging around the Bloomberg offices looking for something to do, Michael Bloomberg announced late Wednesday he'll be officially returning to the company he built, to take back his role as chief executive. In the process, he'll be knocking his former deputy mayor, Daniel Doctoroff, off the perch.
The former three-term New York City mayor with a $32.8 billion fortune (thanks mostly to his 88 percent stake in Bloomberg LP) had spent just eight months out of his mayoral job. He had promised to put his efforts behind giving away his wealth through philanthropic efforts, while working a small part time role on the editorial side of his company.
Clearly, it didn't take. The New York Times reported the following Thursday on Bloomberg's comeback:
Mr. Bloomberg said he fell in love again with the company that he founded in 1981. He said that after vacationing for a couple of weeks in January and working on his philanthropy, he realized that he felt most excited by his work at Bloomberg L.P.
It seems that Bloomberg's looming figure in the office created tension for Doctoroff, who felt he couldn't truly run the company with its namesake hanging around. As Bloomberg himself put it to Times, "he wants to be the C.E.O. of a company and with my name on the door, the best he could do is be co-C.E.O." At the same time, Bloomberg didn't want to consult with Doctoroff on every little decision he was making. Ultimately, Doctoroff offered to step aside and give the ex-mayor his job back.
But in a joint interview the two men gave to Andrew Ross Sorkin, they both agreed there was no hard feelings:
When Mike decided he wanted to spend some time at the company, and then spent more time, obviously things changed... It isn't the job I had for the past six years. It's his — he wants to be involved. He doesn't want to consult with me on everything. I get that.
Bloomberg began to poke around his old stomping grounds in January this year, when he would appear at 7:30 a.m. meetings, he had repeatedly insisted he would stay away from the company he founded — at least in "the day-to-day," Doctoroff told the Times then.
While most Bloomberg employees who noticed his reappearance raised eyebrows and guessed he would return full-time, Bloomberg himself had rejected the possibility for years. At the start of his third term, a profile in Fast Company made it explicitly clear that he had no plans to return to the business world:
Close advisers pressed him to run for president in the 2008 election, but as political analyst Larry Sabato recently pointed out, the idea of a Bloomberg 2012 bid, even as an independent, is 'a complete nonstarter.' It is also clear that Bloomberg will never return to the day-to-day machinations of the financial services and media company he built, Bloomberg LP. He's already been there, done that, and moved on.
The sentiment only continued on into 2012. New York speculated that Bloomberg's third term was simply a "stopgap, something to do while he made up his mind." That's when he set his sights on philanthropy, sending money to help fellow cities like Chicago and New Orleans, as well as urban areas abroad.
He's set his sights on a Plan B: He wants to be mayor of the world.
"I don't think there's much difference in a meaningful sense, whether it's a city here or a city there—wherever 'there' is," Bloomberg said. "I was in Hanoi and Singapore a few weeks ago, and they have exactly the same problems we do. It really is amazing."
Rumors also flew about Bloomberg possibly expanding his empire, by buying The New York Times, or even becoming the new head of the World Bank. (New York said Bloomberg "did not want to have a boss" and turned the job down.) By October 2013, however, Bloomberg was still solidly against the idea for a return.
"I did it for twenty years," Bloomberg told Forbes in an interview just before the end of his third and final term. "It would be a 24/7 job, which I don't want to do. And we've got some very good people running it... I'm not going back to Bloomberg L.P. I don't want to start a new company. I want to do a number of things."
"Mr. Bloomberg is planning a two-week vacation following his successor's inauguration on Jan. 1," The Wall Street Journal reported later in November. "He also plans to continue work with his philanthropic organization." That vacation, though, brought him full circle, right back into the arms of his company.
Perhaps that's for the best, for both Bloomberg and Bloomberg LP. In an enlightening explanation to the Times, Doctoroff said Bloomberg had to come back, like a higher being returning to rule over creation:
Mike is kind of like God at the company. He created the universe. He issued the Ten Commandments and then he disappeared. And then he came back. You have to understand that when God comes back, things are going to be different. When God reappeared, people defer.
A higher being who, according to Deadline, simply took a "13-Year Vacation" and didn't see the light until now.