This is an excerpt from a column posted at BizOpinion.
When last you heard the name “Tommy Thompson,” the reference was almost certainly in the context of state or national politics.
Today, the ex-governor, former U.S. Cabinet secretary and one-time candidate for U.S. Senate is operating under a very different title: Tommy G. Thompson Inc.
More precisely, Thompson is the chairman and chief executive officer of Thompson Holdings, a business umbrella under which one of the most familiar names and faces in Wisconsin politics is investing and advising about 30 companies, mostly in the health care space.
“When I left public office at age 63, I hadn’t saved much,” Thompson said recently when asked about his transition from career politician to private businessman. “I figured it was about time to change that.”
Thompson’s tenure as Health and Social Services secretary under President Bush in the early 2000s was an extension of an interest in health care that began during his tenure as governor, which spanned from 1987 to 2001. He became enamored with health-care innovation, organizing the first federal summit on electronic health records, as well as promoting healthier lifestyles and pushing the concept of “medical diplomacy” around the world.