The CEO of GM, Mary Barra, has been appointed to President-Elect Donald Trump’s 16-member economic and job creation advisory board — accompanied by the CEOs of JPMorgan Chase, Boeing, Walt Disney, Walmart, and others — according to recent reports.
This “Strategic and Policy Forum” will have its first meeting in February, fairly soon after President-Elect Trump takes office. The intent is for the panel to “frequently” meet with the president and provide advice on: job creation, productivity, and economic growth — going by a statement posted on the website of the private equity firm Blackstone. Blackstone founder Stephen Schwarzman is apparently slated to be the chairman of the advisory group.
Commenting on the appointment, the GM CEO stated: “I’m pleased to join President-elect Donald J Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum because it offers us a seat at an important table where we can contribute to a constructive and open dialogue about key policy issues. We look forward to working with President-elect Trump, his team and other corporate and civic leaders on policies that support a strong and competitive economy and automotive industry.”
A public statement from the office of the president-elect notes: “This forum brings together CEOs and business leaders who know what it takes to create jobs and drive economic growth. My administration is committed to drawing on private sector expertise and cutting the government red tape that is holding back our businesses from hiring, innovating and expanding right here in America.”
As noted in coverage by Automotive News, the appointment of Mary Barra is a good contrast to Trump’s repeated negative comments about Ford Motor Company, “even though GM and Ford (both) have rapidly growing operations in Mexico … Barra is one of two women on the panel, along with IBM CEO Ginni Rometty. She was among 39 candidates under early consideration to be the running mate of Trump’s Democratic challenger, Hillary Clinton, according to a hacked email released by WikiLeaks.”
That last bit is interesting, and just goes to show that, regardless of politics and public statements to the contrary, those at the top whether in DC or in the private sector are all well acquainted and generally friendly with each other. The GM CEO seems to have had her eye on the space (or a similar one) regardless of whether it was Trump or Clinton that won.
[Editor’s Note: Naturally, taking job-creation advice from the heads of multinational corporations is a bit different from taking advice from academic or government economic and jobs experts, not to mention labor unions. Multinational CEOs are surely going to color the food as they want to see it, whether that means pushing for things in the interest of the US middle and lower classes or not. Maybe you can think of a few things that the CEOs of JPMorgan Chase, Boeing, Walt Disney, Walmart, and GM will all be pushing for — and things they’ll push back against. —Zach]