Name at birth: Stephen Kevin BannonSteve Bannon is the Breitbart News executive who in 2016 emerged as a key advisor to Donald Trump during Trump’s successful run for president. In November of 2016, Trump named Bannon chief strategist and senior counselor for his new administration. Steve Bannon was already a highly controversial figure. In the mold of his friend and fellow conservative activist Andrew Breitbart, Bannon is a lover of fierce political argument and seemingly determined to demolish liberals and establishment figures of all kinds. VICE News called him “a right-wing Rottweiler.” Stephen Bannon was born in Virginia and earned his undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech in 1976. After graduation from Virginia Tech he joined the U.S. Navy, serving on destroyers and then as a special assistant to the chief of Naval operations at the Pentagon. (While there he earned a master’s degree in international studies from Georgetown University in night school.) Leaving the Navy, he entered Harvard Business School in 1983 and after graduation landed a job with the investment bank Goldman Sachs. He then started his own media investment firm, Bannon & Company; while there he served as a dealmaker for the sale of Castle Rock Entertainment, and in return received royalties from the TV show Seinfeld. The royalties added to his wealth and the dealmaking gave him a foothold in Hollywood. Bannon met Andrew Breitbart after producing In The Face of Evil, a 2004 film praising Ronald Reagan. Throughout the next 10 years Bannon backed a series of conservative documentaries, praising Sarah Palin in The Undefeated (2011) and attacking Hillary Clinton in Clinton Cash (2016) among other topics. He founded the Government Accountability Institute, a right-wing activist think tank that heavily attacked Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race. After Andrew Breitbart’s sudden death in 2012, Bannon was named Executive Chairman of Brietbart News. Taking a very active role, he encouraged nationalist and and anti-establishment stories; under his watch, Breitbart News became aligned with “alt-right” extremists, a loose coalition of far-right groups with ties to white nationalism and antisemitism. As the site’s profile rose, so did Bannon’s, especially as Breitbart News threw its support behind Donald Trump’s run for president. In August of 2016, Bannon left his job at Breitbart when Donald Trump named him the chief executive of his presidential campaign; when Trump scored his surprising win that November, Bannon became a key cog in the incoming administration.
Steve Bannon’s fondness for casual dress is well-known. “With his swept-back blond hair and partiality to cargo shorts and flip-flops, he looks like Jeff Spicoli after a few decades of hard living,” said Bloomberg News in 2015… Steve Bannon has been married and divorced three times: to Cathleen Houff Jordan (their daughter, Maureen, is a West Point graduate); to fellow investment banker Mary Louise Piccard (married in 1995 and divorced in 1997; they had twin daughters); and to Diane Clohesy (marriage date unclear, divorced in 2009).