President-elect Joe Biden has settled on senior Obama administration official and current investment executive Brian Deese as his top economic adviser in the White House, though the announcement may not come until later this week.
People close to Biden’s transition confirmed that Deese, an executive at investment giant BlackRock, is Biden’s pick for director of the National Economic Council in the White House, after emerging as the frontrunner in recent days.
The transition team, however, is expected to first roll out other senior members of Biden’s economic team, including former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as Treasury secretary; Adewale “Wally” Adeyemo as deputy Treasury secretary; Princeton economist Cecilia Rouse to lead the Council of Economic Advisers; and Center for American Progress’ Neera Tanden as OMB director.
Some progressive groups have warned against hiring Deese, 42, to a White House post, given his current job in the financial sector.
“We are concerned, as our name suggests, with revolving door hires,” Jeff Hauser, who founded the Revolving Door Project to scrutinize executive branch appointees, told POLITICO last week. “And Brian Deese’s [relationship] to BlackRock makes it less likely that the federal government will rein in BlackRock as it should be.”
Deese is widely popular among Democratic policy hands, however. He worked on the auto bailout and environmental issues in President Barack Obama’s White House, where he served as deputy director of both the NEC and the Office of Management and Budget. And at BlackRock, his work has focused on driving funds into sustainable investments like clean energy.
“He has just proven himself to be an effective champion for transitioning the economy to be a cleaner economy,” John Podesta, a former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton and counselor to President Barack Obama before founding the progressive group Center for American Progress told POLITICO last week. “There is no question in my mind that he will campaign aggressively on behalf of the environment.”