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Lasry to Remain at Avenue After Ambassador Speculation

Marc Lasry, who was reported to be in the running for the role of U.S. ambassador to France, told clients he will stay as co-head of Avenue Capital Group LLC.

“I am very grateful to have been considered, but I would like to put the speculation to rest and let you know that I will be remaining at Avenue,” Lasry, whose firm oversees $11.5 billion, said in a letter to clients today.

Lasry last month appointed Richard Furst as chief investment officer of New York-based Avenue. Former President Bill Clinton had told guests at a fundraising event that Lasry will be nominated by President Barack Obama to be ambassador to France, the Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire reported March 14, citing an unidentified person who was in attendance.

Lasry, who is chairman and chief executive officer of Avenue, founded the firm together with his sister, Sonia Gardner, 18 years ago. News that Lasry will continue at Avenue was reported earlier today by CNBC.

Lasry is staying in part because investors may not have granted him a waiver of the so-called key-man clause, which allows them to pull their money if a key executive leaves, according to a person familiar with the firm, who asked not to be named because the information is private.

Lasry, who emigrated to the U.S. from Morocco when he was 7 years old and whose mother taught French at a private school, gave a maximum of $30,800 in 2011 to support Obama’s re-election campaign. He is close to Bill and Hillary Clinton, and employed their daughter, Chelsea, as an analyst from 2006 to 2008.

Last year, Lasry was part of a group of Wall Street executives who gathered at the White House as the administration sought to build support for a deal to avert the so-called fiscal cliff of automatic spending cuts and tax increases.

To contact the reporters on this story: Katherine Burton in New York at kburton@bloomberg.net; Saijel Kishan in New York at skishan@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christian Baumgaertel at cbaumgaertel@bloomberg.net

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