STEPHEN K. BANNON
Highlights from His Life and Career
BACKGROUND and EDUCATION
Stephen Kevin Bannon was born on November 27, 1953, in Norfolk, Virginia. … His father worked as an AT&T telephone lineman, later in middle management. His working class, Irish Catholic family was pro-Kennedy, pro-union Democrat. Bannon attended Benedictine College Preparatory, a private, Catholic, military high school in Richmond, Virginia graduating in 1971.
Bannon then attended Virginia Tech and served as the president of the student government association. During the summers, he took a job working at a local junk yard –– a job so dirty and demanding he had to wash himself off wth the garden hose before his mother would permit him to reenter the house..
He graduated from Virginia Tech in 1976 with a bachelor's degree in urban planning. In 1983, he earned a master's degree in national security studies from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. In 1985, Bannon earned a Master of Business Administration degree –– with honors –– from Harvard Business School.
Bannon was an officer in the United States Navy for seven years in the late 1970s and early 1980s, serving on the destroyer USS Paul F. Foster as a surface warfare officer in the Pacific Fleet and, afterwards stateside as a special assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations at the Pentagon.
Bannon's job at the Pentagon was, among other things, handling messages between senior officers and writing reports about the state of the Navy fleet worldwide. While at the Pentagon, Bannon attended Georgetown University at night and obtained his master's degree in national security studies.
In 1980, Bannon was deployed to the Persian Gulf to assist with Operation Eagle Claw during the Iran hostage crisis. The failure of the mission marked a turning point in his political world-view from largely apolitical to strongly Reaganite, which was further reinforced by the September 11 attacks.
Bannon has stated that, "I wasn’t political until I got into the service and saw how badly Jimmy Carter fucked things up. I became a huge Reagan admirer. Still am. But what turned me against the whole establishment was coming back from running companies in Asia in 2008 and seeing that Bush had fucked up as badly as Carter. The whole country was a disaster.”
Upon his departure Bannon ranked as a lieutenant (O-3).
After his military service, Bannon worked at Goldman Sachs as an investment banker in the Mergers and Acquisitions Department. In 1987, Bannon relocated from New York to Los Angeles, to assist Goldman to expand their presence in the entertainment industry. He stayed at this position … for two years, leaving with the title of vice president.
In 1990, Bannon and several colleagues from Goldman Sachs launched Bannon & Co., a boutique investment bank specializing in media. In one of Bannon & Co.'s transactions, the firm represented Westinghouse Electric which wanted to sell Castle Rock Entertainment. Bannon negotiated a sale of Castle Rock to CNN, which was owned by Ted Turner at the time. Instead of a full adviser’s fee, Bannon & Co. accepted a financial stake in five television shows, including Seinfeld, which was in its third season. Bannon still receives cash residuals each time Seinfeld is aired. Société Générale purchased Bannon & Co. in 1998.
CAREER IN EARTH SCIENCE
In 1993, while still managing Bannon & Co., Bannon became acting director of the Earth-science research project Biosphere 2 in Oracle, Arizona. Under Bannon, the closed-system experiment project shifted emphasis from researching human space exploration and colonization toward the scientific study of earth's environment, pollution and climate change. He left the project in 1995.
ENTERTAINMENT AND MEDIA
In the 1990s, Bannon … became an executive producer in the Hollywood film and media industry. Bannon produced 18 films, from the 1991 Sean Penn drama The Indian Runner to Julie Taymor's 1999 film Titus. Bannon became a partner with entertainment industry executive Jeff Kwatinetz at film and television management company The Firm, Inc. 2002–2003.
In 2004, Bannon made a documentary about Ronald Reagan titled In the Face of Evil. Through the making and screening of this film, Bannon was introduced to Reagan's War author Peter Schweizer and publisher Andrew Breitbart, who would later describe him as the Leni Riefenstahl of the Tea Party movement. He was involved in the financing and production of a number of films, including Fire from the Heartland: The Awakening of the Conservative Woman, The Undefeated, and Occupy Unmasked.
Bannon persuaded Goldman Sachs to invest, in 2006, in a company known as Internet Gaming Entertainment. Following a lawsuit, the company rebranded as Affinity Media and Bannon took over as CEO. From 2007 through 2011, Bannon was the chair and CEO of Affinity Media.
In 2007, Bannon wrote an eight-page treatment for a new documentary called Destroying the Great Satan: The Rise of Islamic Fascism in America. The outline states that "although driven by the “best intentions,” institutions such as the media, the Jewish community and government agencies were appeasing jihadists aiming to create an Islamic republic.”
In 2011, Bannon spoke at the "Liberty Restoration Foundation" in Orlando, Florida about the Economic Crisis of 2008, the Troubled Assets Relief Program and their impact in the origins of the Tea Party movement, while also discussing his films Generation Zero and The Undefeated.
Bannon was executive chair and co-founder of the Government Accountability Institute, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, where he helped orchestrate the publication of Breitbart News senior editor-at-large Peter Schweizer's book Clinton Cash, from its founding in 2012 until he left in August 2016. For the years 2012 through 2015, he received between $81,000 and $100,000 each year; the organization reported that he worked an average of 30 hours per week for the organization. He has also worked as vice president of Cambridge Analytica's board, a data-analytics firm owned largely by the Mercer family; the family that is also co-owners of Breitbart News.
In 2015, Bannon was ranked No. 19 on Mediaite's list of the "25 Most Influential in Political News Media 2015".Bannon also hosted a radio show (Breitbart News Daily) on the SiriusXM Patriot satellite radio channel.
Mr. Bannon is a Founding Member
of the Board of Breitbart News