David Cho, Lori Montgomery and Shailagh Murray
Saturday, Nov 22, 2008
President-elect Barack Obama has selected New York Federal Reserve Bank President Timothy F. Geithner as Treasury secretary, handing the post to a primary architect of the Bush administration’s response to the financial crisis, according to Democratic and industry officials yesterday.
At 47, he is the same age as Obama and would represent a generational change in the highest levels of Washington economic policymaking, heading a remarkably young team of White House economic advisers tasked with sorting out one of the worst financial messes since the Great Depression.
A Democrat and a relative unknown outside the world of high finance, Geithner has worked closely with Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. to devise responses to the most critical events of the market turmoil, including the bailouts of the investment bank Bear Stearns and the insurance giant American International Group. Like Paulson, Geithner believes that the Treasury should be given vast powers to develop experimental strategies for responding to the crisis and the flexibility to abandon them if they don’t work.
Geithner’s mentor is Lawrence H. Summers, 53, a Treasury secretary during the Clinton administration who also was in the running for the job. Summers instead will go to the White House and serve as a senior economic adviser to Obama, according to a senior Democratic official familiar with the matter. Meanwhile, Obama is seriously considering a former opponent in the primary campaign, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, to head the Commerce Department, according to the official.
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Joining Summers in the White House would be Jason Furman, 38, as a top economic adviser; Peter R. Orszag, 39, as White House budget director; and Austan Goolsbee, 39, on the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, sources familiar with the matter said.
The rollout of the economic team is expected to take place in Chicago on Monday, according to a transition source who spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcements have not been made yet. As for the timing, this source said, “Everything has been accelerated on the economic front because of the news of the last few months” but not in reaction to any specific market trends this week.
This article was posted: Saturday, November 22, 2008 at 4:09 am