Please note that although the report was published before the official announcement, it has now officially happened.
Jan. 21 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama will name Jeffrey Immelt, General Electric Co.’s chief executive officer, to head his outside panel of economic advisers, replacing former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker.
Immelt wrote in an op-ed today in the Washington Post that Obama asked him to take the helm of the newly renamed President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. The group will reach out to labor and business leaders to serve “as a catalyst for action,” he wrote.
Immelt, 54, is an original member of the panel, which was formed as the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board in February 2009. GE’s CEO since 2001, he heads the world’s biggest maker of jet engines, medical-imaging equipment and power-plant turbines and gives the White House a corporate heavyweight to help burnish Obama’s pro-business credentials.
He has sounded many of the administration’s themes: boosting jobs through U.S. exports, ensuring companies can compete with powers like China and India, and jumpstarting a clean-energy economy. Immelt wrote today that he and Obama are committed to making the U.S. “the most competitive and innovating economy in the world.”
“It’s the right aspiration,” Immelt who will still serve as an outside adviser in his new role, said of the president’s goal of doubling American exports to more than $2 trillion in five years, during a Nov. 6 interview in Mumbai, where he joined Obama for a meeting with business leaders. “We’ve done it in the last five years as a company.”
Obama will formally announce Immelt’s appointment today when he travels to Schenectady, New York, an administration official said on condition of anonymity. That’s the birthplace of GE’s energy business and where the steam turbines in a $750 million order from India’s Reliance Power Ltd. announced in November will be built for export.
The panel’s start-up was delayed, and Volcker, known for taming inflation as Fed chairman in the 1980s, told colleagues he sometimes felt it was more of a public relations tool for the White House, according to a person familiar with his views.
Still, he advised the administration on the rewriting of financial laws. And the Volcker rule -- which banned proprietary trading at banks and restricted their investments in private- equity and hedge funds -- was named after him. Volcker had agreed to serve only for two years as head of the board and plans to be available to advise the administration, according to another person familiar with the matter.