Ron Bloom, an architect of the auto industry bailout and special adviser for manufacturing policy, could be named to a new manufacturing policy post at the White House, The Wall Street Journal reported today.
According to the report, President Barack Obama is considering appointing Bloom to the new White House post, in which he would report to the director of the National Economic Council.
The position has not been created, but the newspaper said it likely will come as Obama names the next NEC director. The post has been vacant since the end of Lawrence Summers’ term on Friday and could be filled as early as this week.
In the position, the new official would coordinate policies to boost U.S. manufacturing and advise on trade, taxes and infrastructure,Appointing Bloom could appease union and liberal activists because of his ties to labor. Bloom spent more than 15 years advising union leader Leo Gerard, current president of United Steelworkers.
One of the leading contenders for the NEC director’s seat is Gene Sperling, who spent two years advising Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and worked with Former President Bill Clinton’s administration before that.
But Sperling’s ties to Wall Street -- he was paid almost $890,000 in 2008 for a part-time position with Goldman Sachs -- could make some uneasy, the Washington Post reported Sunday.
Bloom has ties to Wall Street himself. In the 1980s, he was an investment banker at Lazard Freres & Co. Later, he was one of the founding members of Keilin and Bloom, an investment banking firm where he was involved in transactions on behalf of the Steelworkers, the UAW, the Teamsters and other unions. He later left the firm to work with Gerard.
In summer 2009, Bloom took over from Steven Rattner as head of the White House’s auto bailout committee. In that role, Bloom was instrumental in the government’s refusal to bail out auto suppliers. He also supported the closing of numerous Chrysler and GM dealerships in 2009. Since then he has overseen government interests as the automakers return to financial solvency.
Bloom will be a guest speaker at the Automotive News World Congress on Tuesday, Jan 11. The conference runs Jan. 11-13.