David Petraeus: Turns Out His Forced Resignation Was a Pretty Good Financial Decision

Retired Army General David Petraeus has always been at the top of his field in highly coveted positions in the government and military ... that is, until he acknowledged an extramarital affair with U.S. Army Intelligence Officer Paula Broadwell. After details surfaced regarding their relationship, Petraeus stepped down as acting director of the CIA. But stepping down from the CIA could very well be one of his best career moves, at least financially.

Petraeus has a long list of accomplishments, from finishing his Ph.D at Princeton while on active duty, to serving in the Army for 37 years as a highly decorated four-star general, and yes, securing himself the top spot at the CIA. He has accumulated an impressive collection of awards, titles, honorary degrees, and recognitions, including appearances on lists such as Foreign Policy's "100 Public Intellectuals," GQ’s 2012 "50 Most Powerful People in Washington," TIME's 2007 list of the 100 most influential leaders and revolutionaries. The list goes on and on …

Last Thursday, he was named chairman of the global investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P., another fancy resume boost.

Since issuing a statement in November 2012 regarding his affair, Petreaus has kept a low profile until a spring announcement that he would embark into the "trenches of academia." He signed onto the faculty staff at USC and CUNY to teach foreign relations and mentor ROTC students. It seemed a respectable enough way to retire and still feel he could make an impact.

The move to Wall Street however, indicates he is not ready to forgo his influence and earning potential. As chairman of KKR, his responsibilities will focus on managing macroeconomic forecasts and facilitating investment opportunities abroad with his expansive list of contacts. According to the Wall Street Journal, he will advise on economic trends and matters with foreign governments dealing with transactions, "in an effort to improve management and leadership and help them confront economic and geopolitical forces… " This appears to be a strong strategic move on both ends, especially because KKR reportedly had $78.3 billion in assets as of March this year.

Beyond the fact that Petreaus gets to play with the big boys again, it's likely he will take in a seven-figure salary and a hefty bonus, depending on the size of deals he can make. In addition, as a retired Army general, he is allowed to collect his annual pension, which is well over $200k. Feel free to do the math. All in all, it appears his career is far from over, and when he does decide to formally retire he'll be in a better position to do so than before his cheating scandal.  

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Laura Gillen

Background in international development and women's empowerment. Avid tennis player, runner, sailor, and yogi. D.C. based.

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