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After leading the massive $7 billion investment in struggling WaMu, David Bonderman will join the lender’s board and appoint a board “observer” as well.

Who is he and how does he operate?

Age: 65.

Education: University of Washington, B.A. in Russian, 1963; Harvard Law School, 1966.

History: Co-founded leading private equity firm TPG (originally Texas Pacific Group) in 1992. Was on the WaMu board from 1996 to 2002, after Bonderman’s previous firm sold American Savings Bank to WaMu for three times what it paid.

Investments: Bought Continental Airlines for $66 million in 1993, later sold it for $640 million. Other hits include Burger King and J. Crew.

Current investments include Dublin, Ireland-based Ryanair Holdings, and (with KKR and Goldman Sachs) TXU, the Texas utility acquired last year for $45 billion.

Last week, TPG made the largest U.S. private equity investment in Russia, buying half of a top pharmaceutical distributor for $800 million.

Reputation: Time magazine: “Find the sickest company you can, and the odds are good that Texas Pacific wants a hand in healing it — in return for a big ownership stake.”

Worth knowing: Worked as a Justice Department civil-rights attorney in the Johnson administration; studied Islamic law in Cairo, Egypt; hired the Rolling Stones in 2002 to play at his 60th birthday bash in Las Vegas.

Sources: Bloomberg News; Forbes; SEC filings