Where Is Wall Street in Biden’s Transition Team?



Andrew Ross Sorkin, Jason Karaian, Michael J. de la Merced, Lauren Hirsch and Ephrat Livni | The New York Times

The Biden-Harris team has announced its “agency review teams,” who are responsible for guiding the new administration’s transition in key departments. The list of 500 people reflects the “values and priorities of the incoming administration,” the transition team said, and is being scrutinized for hints about President-elect Joe Biden’s ideological leanings.

Well-known corporate and Wall Street figures are few. Instead, the list is packed with academics and Obama-era staffers — Georgetown University, the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution are among the top employers of review team members. Nearly 50 people are described as self-employed.

That said, these teams are formed to assess the state of federal agencies, and aren’t necessarily the same people who will ultimately be tapped to staff the departments. Being left off the list also doesn’t preclude having the team’s ear. Mr. Biden, who was vice president when progressives felt shut out of the Obama administration, is also well aware of Wall Street’s concerns, given the tense relationship between banks and his former boss during the financial crisis.

Here are some of the key names at business-focused agencies:

  • Commerce Department: The review team is led by Geovette Washington of the University of Pittsburgh, who previously served as general counsel and senior policy adviser at the Office of Management and Budget. Other members include Anna Gomez, a partner at the law firm Wiley Rein; Arun Venkataraman, who works in government relations at Visa (and was director of policy at the Commerce Department under Mr. Obama); and Ellen Hughes-Cromwick of the think tank Third Way, who served as chief economist at Mr. Obama’s Commerce Department and held a similar role at Ford.

  • Treasury Department: The team is led by Don Graves, who heads corporate responsibility at KeyBank and previously worked as director of domestic and economic policy for Mr. Biden. Others include Nicole Isaac of LinkedIn and Marisa Lago, who works at the New York City Department of City Planning and previously oversaw global compliance at Citigroup.

  • Federal Reserve, Banking and Securities Regulators: The team is led by Gary Gensler, a top Wall Street regulator in the Obama administration who is now a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management. The team also includes Dennis Kelleher of Better Markets, long a proponent of tougher rules for banks.

  • Council of Economic Advisers: The team is led by Martha Gimbel, the senior manager of economic research at Schmidt Futures, the philanthropic initiative founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt.

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