Michael Bloomberg reportedly tried to persuade Hillary Clinton to succeed him as mayor of New York but was told she had no interest in the job.
The New York Times said that the mayor was not entirely happy with the calibre of candidates competing to replace him and thought the Secretary of State, who has announced her intention to retire soon, would be the ideal replacement.
Mr Bloomberg, founder of the eponymous data services firm and the 10th richest person in the US, must stand down at the end of next year after 12 years.
Mrs Clinton is a former senator for New York, but her fellow Democrats in the city said the idea of her seeking office there struck them as improbable, whether or not she mounts a second run for the White House in 2016, which has been heavily rumoured.
“As much as anything, they said, Mr Bloomberg’s encouragement seemed to reflect his lofty view of the office — and himself,” the New York Times said.
“He is looking for somebody he can feel comfortable handing the reins over to,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a New York City political operative who worked on Mr. Bloomberg’s last campaign.
Mr Bloomberg’s overture to Mrs Clinton may come as a disappointment to Christine Quinn, the city council speaker, whom he is considered likely to endorse. Mrs Quinn cleared the way for this third term by supporting an extension of the city’s mayoral term limits changed from two terms of four years to three.
Spokesman for Mr Bloomberg and Mrs Clinton declined to comment.