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Biden considers TIAA CEO Ferguson to lead his economic council

Bloomberg
Bloomberg • 2 min read
Biden considers TIAA CEO Ferguson to lead his economic council
If selected, Ferguson would become the first African-American in the role of director of the National Economic Council.
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President-elect Joe Biden is considering Roger Ferguson, a former Federal Reserve vice chair, to be his top White House economic adviser, according to people familiar with the matter.

If selected, Ferguson, now the chief executive of TIAA, would become the first African-American in the role of director of the National Economic Council, a prime position to guide the president on the direction of policy making.

The Biden transition declined to comment on Wednesday night. The people who discussed his consideration for the post did so on condition of anonymity because no decision has been made.

The job is currently held in the Trump administration by Larry Kudlow. CNBC reported earlier that Ferguson was under consideration. Politico reported Wednesday that Biden is also considering Brian Deese, an executive at BlackRock Inc., for the post.

Ferguson, 69, was vice chairman of the Fed’s Board of Governors from 1999 to 2006, the first Black person to hold that post. After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, then Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan was overseas and deputized Ferguson to carry out what was essentially the central bank’s war plan for market crises.

He has spent about 12 years as the chief executive of TIAA, arriving there from the reinsurance company Swiss Re AG, where he headed financial services. He steered TIAA through the 2008 financial crisis.

The organization oversaw US$1.2 trillion ($1.61 trillion) as of Sept. 30, including the retirement savings of many Americans. That’s up from about $435 billion when Ferguson was chosen to run it in 2008.

He is a board member at Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent, and General Mills Inc.

Ferguson, a native of the District of Columbia, is the son of a public school teacher and a US Army cartographer.

He has said that Andrew Brimmer, the first Black governor of the Fed, inspired his career. Brimmer was nominated by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966, when Ferguson was a teenager.

Biden is assembling his cabinet even as President Donald Trump refuses to concede the Nov. 3 election. On Tuesday, the president-elect announced nominees for several national-security posts including secretary of state. Next week, he plans to introduce members of his economic team, likely including his choice of former Fed Chair Janet Yellen to serve as Treasury secretary.

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