President-elect Donald Trump appointed General Motors CEO Mary Barra to a panel of 16 prominent business leaders that will advise him on job creation and economic matters.
Barra will join the CEOs of JPMorgan Chase, Walt Disney Co., Wal-Mart Stores, Boeing and other companies on Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum. The group will have its first meeting in February at the White House.
“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,” Barra said in a statement. “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.”
The panel will meet with Trump “frequently” to advise him on economic growth, job creation and productivity, according to a statement posted on the website of Blackstone, a private equity firm. Blackstone founder Stephen Schwarzman will be chairman of the group.
“This forum brings together CEOs and business leaders who know what it takes to create jobs and drive economic growth,” Trump said in the statement. “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.”
Trump’s selection of Barra contrasts with his repeated criticism of Ford Motor Co. during the campaign, even though GM and Ford 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.
It appears the panel will have a similar function as the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board that President Obama assembled in 2009 during the Great Recession.