Donald Trump has tapped a group of leading CEOs to advise him on jobs and the economy soon after his inauguration.
Trump's transition team announced on Friday the establishment of the President's Strategic and Policy Forum, unveiling a lineup of big-name executives including Disney (DIS) CEO Bob Iger, General Electric's (GE) former chief Jack Welch, JPMorgan (JPM) head Jamie Dimon and Walmart (WMT) CEO Doug McMillon. Stephen Schwarzman, chairman and CEO of Blackstone (BX) , will chair the forum, which will meet at the White House for the first time in early February, soon after Trump assumes the presidency.
"This forum brings together CEOs and business leaders who know what it takes to create jobs and drive economic growth," Trump said in a 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."
Some of the executives named had a mixed relationship with Trump before and after his election.
Welch, who retired as chairman and CEO of GE in 2001, in the wake of Trump's surprise victory in November predicted "unlimited" opportunities for his economic plans in an appearance on CNBC. "We have been stuck in a terrible, overregulated economy for eight years. I mean stuck, and business stinks. And the possibilities are unshackling it," he said.
The 81-year-old Welch, a long-time Republican, backed Trump throughout much of the campaign but yanked his support in the wake of the Access Hollywood tape, calling for the GOP to find a new nominee.
Disney's Iger, 65, supported Hillary Clinton during the campaign and co-hosted a fundraiser for her over the summer. In the days following Trump's election, Iger said he was "hopeful" about what's to come in an interview with CNBC.
Like Republican message on Economy, Security and Supreme Court...Unfortunately, wrong messenger...Party must change nominee now.— Jack Welch (@jack_welch) October 8, 2016
"There is going to be far more energy around attacking the tax code, changing the tax code, closing loopholes on corporate taxes and lowering the base," he said. "We're not as competitive as we need to be as a country. I think that is going to be addressed on a timely, meaning a fast basis. That's certainly good."
BlackRock (BLK) Larry Fink, a Democrat who was speculated to be in the running for Treasury Secretary in the event of a Clinton victory, will join the forum. He warned that Trump was someone to take "seriously" in the spring.
Dimon, who was once speculated to be in contention for the Treasury Secretary job under Trump, will sit on the forum as well. So will Jim McNerney, former chairman and CEO of Boeing (BA) , who once referred to Trump's rhetoric on trade as "dangerous."
Rometty reached out to the president-elect in the days following the election in an open letter. She said her company will support efforts by the Trump administration and Congress to pass tax reform in early 2017 and outlined areas where Trump and IBM can find common ground -- education and healthcare, for example. She did not mention the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which IBM strongly reports and Trump has indicated he will withdraw from.
Schwarzman, the 69-year-old private equity executive who will chair the forum, said at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council after the election that he is "excited" about the prospects for economic growth in America and expects the business horizon to look "infinitely better" in the next few years.
"Things are going to change, and I think things are going to change a lot," he said. He did not refer to Trump by name.
In an interview with Bloomberg before the election, Schwarzman said he was undecided between Trump and Clinton. He said the GOP nominee's plans for economic growth sound "wonderful if you could do that," but also expressed concerns about his immigration plans.
"If you were really removing a large number of people, that's got to adversely affect the economy," he said.
During the Republican primaries in October 2015, Schwarzman characterized Trump as "the P.T. Barnum of America," referring to the 19th century circus king.
See below the full 16-member list of the President's Strategic and Policy Forum:
- Stephen A. Schwarzman, Chairman, CEO, and Co-Founder of Blackstone
- Paul Atkins, CEO, Patomak Global Partners, LLC, Former Commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission
- Mary Barra, Chairman and CEO, General Motors
- Toby Cosgrove, CEO, Cleveland Clinic
- Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO, JPMorgan Chase & Co
- Larry Fink, Chairman and CEO, BlackRock
- Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company
- Rich Lesser, President and CEO, Boston Consulting Group
- Doug McMillon, President and CEO, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
- Jim McNerney, Former Chairman, President, and CEO, Boeing
- Adebayo "Bayo" Ogunlesi, Chairman and Managing Partner, Global Infrastructure Partners
- Ginni Rometty, Chairman, President, and CEO, IBM
- Kevin Warsh, Shepard Family Distinguished Visiting Fellow in Economics, Hoover Institute, Former Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
- Mark Weinberger, Global Chairman and CEO, EY
- Jack Welch, Former Chairman and CEO, General Electric
- Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer Prize-winner, Vice Chairman of IHS Markit (INFO)