Monday, November 10, 2008

Obama To Appoint Team With All Deliberate Haste, Emphasizing Deliberate

Following a meeting with his Transition Economic Advisory Board (TEAB) on Friday, President-Elect Barack Obama told a press conference that as far as announcing senior level appointments in his administration, “There is no doubt that I think people want to know who's going to make up our team, and I want to move with all deliberate haste, but I want to emphasize deliberate as well as haste."

A list of members of the Obama-Biden TEAB, including this link to a seating chart of Friday’s TEAB meeting, can be found in the article, “Obama Pledges Quick Action on Economic Stimulus,” by Jonathan Weisman in the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal.

Among top contenders for U.S. Treasury Secretary in the Obama-Biden administration, according to various press reports, are former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers and New York Fed President Timothy Geithner. Former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker, a member of the TEAB, has also been rumored by some as a possible choice. See, e.g. “Summers and Geithner: A Reading List” posted Nov. 6 in David Leonhardt’s Economix blog, and “Summers and Geithner, Two Contenders for Treasury Job, Have Close Career Ties,” by Deborah Solomon and Michael Phillips in the weekend WSJ.

Over at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, as reported Kara Scannell in Friday’s Wall Street Journal, “SEC Exodus May Soon Accelerate.” Scannell notes that Division of Corporation Finance Director John White announced last week he will be leaving the SEC at the end of the year to return to private practice, and she states: “SEC Chairman Christopher Cox has said he plans to leave after the end of the Bush administration, and a new chairman could be named soon.” Among possible candidates for the chairmanship, says Scannell, are former Commissioner Harvey Goldschmid, currently teaching at Columbia Law School, and AFL-CIO Associate General Counsel Damon Silvers, currently a member of the PCAOB Standing Advisory Group (SAG). Other possible candidates for the position, noted in an article in Bloomberg on Friday by Jesse Westbrook, “Obama's Pick for SEC Is `Urgent' Task, Lawmakers Say,” could include former Fidelity Investments Vice Chairman Robert Pozen, who chaired the SEC’s Advisory Committee on Improvements in Financial Reporting, aka CIFiR or the Pozen Committee, FDIC director Martin Gruenberg, as well as William Brodsky, chief executive officer of the Chicago Board Options Exchange; Mellody Hobson, president of Ariel Capital Management; and Gary Gensler, a former Treasury Department undersecretary and partner at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Last week, Obama announced the members of his Transition Project Team, headed by John Podesta, Valerie Jarrett and Peter Rouse, and announced the selection of Rahm Emanuel to serve as White House Chief of Staff. A transition website has been set up by the Obama-Biden team at

As reported in by Dan Eggen in Saturday’s Washington Post, “Bush, Obama to Meet on Monday.” President George W. Bush and President-elect Obama are slated to discuss today, according to Eggen, “the economy, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and other challenges the new administration will face in January.”

Transition planning has been going on since prior to the election, as noted in this Fact Sheet: Ensuring a Smooth and Effective Presidential Transition released by the White House on Oct. 28.

While moving to effect a smooth transition, Obama also acknowledged at his press conference on Friday, “The United States has only one government and one president at a time.” This was also noted by transition team co-chair Podesta in an interview with FoxNews on Sunday.

Financial Executives International (FEI) issued a statement last week, congratulating Obama and Biden on their election to the White House, noting, “We look forward to working with our Nation’s new leadership and representatives to develop sound finance and taxation policies for American companies.” Additionally, FEI said: “Across the country, our members operate as the preeminent professionals on taxation and accounting standards from the perspective of large and small as well as public and privately-held companies. With our membership of 15,000 senior financial executives representing 8,000 companies, FEI has worked closely with both Democratic and Republican Administrations and Congresses for more than 75 years, and is eager to continue to do so with the new Administration.” Read the FEI statement.

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