Dec 3, 2020 - Economy

Biden taps Brian Deese to lead National Economic Council

Brian Deese

Brian Deese (L) in 2015 with special envoy for climate change Todd Stern (C) and Secretary of State John Kerry (R). Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden announced Thursday that he has selected Brian Deese, a former Obama climate and economic aide and head of sustainable investing at BlackRock, to serve as director of the National Economic Council.

Why it matters: The influential position does not require Senate confirmation, but Deese's time working for BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager and an investor in fossil fuels, has made him a target of criticism from progressives.

  • During his time in the White House, where he also served as deputy director of the National Economic Council and deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, Deese worked on U.S. auto industry bailout and helped negotiate the landmark Paris Climate Agreement.
  • He's one of several experienced — albeit more controversial — economic hands that Biden has tapped as the incoming administration seeks to rescue the U.S. economy from the devastation wrought by the pandemic.

What they're saying: "Brian is among the most tested and accomplished public servants in the country — a trusted voice I can count on to help us end the ongoing economic crisis, build a better economy that deals everybody in, and take on the existential threat of climate change in a way that creates good-paying American jobs," Biden said in a statement.

Go deeper: What Biden's pick for NEC tells us about his climate policy

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