President-elect Donald Trump has appointed General Motors CEO Mary Barra to his panel of prominent business leaders in spite of heavy criticism of the automotive industry in his presidential campaign.
The 16-strong Strategic and Policy Forum, which includes the CEOs of JP Morgan Chase, Walt Disney Co., Wal-Mart Stores, Boeing and other top companies will advise Trump on job creation and business matters.
Trump’s selection of Barra contradicts his harsh criticism of Ford Motor Co. during his presidential campaign, levied at its rapid expansion of operations in Mexico rather than the US, even though Barra’s GM has also been doing the same.
Barra said she intends to help shape US policies that will positively affect the automotive industry. She said: ‘It offers us a seat at an important table where we can contribute to a constructive and open dialogue about key policy issues.
She added: ‘We look forward to working with President-elect Trump […] on policies that support a strong and competitive economy and automotive industry.’
The appointment is also surprising because Barra was one of the 39 potential running mates for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, according to a hacked email released by WikiLeaks.
Trump said: ‘This forum brings together CEOs and business leaders who know what it takes to create jobs and drive economic growth.’
He added: ‘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.’
Barra is one of two women on the panel, along with IBM CEO Ginni Rometty.
The panel will meet with Trump ‘frequently to advise him on economic growth, job creation and productivity, and will have its first meeting in February at the White House.’
The panel appears to have a similar function to the Economic Recovery Advisory Board, which President Obama assembled in 2009 during the Great Recession.
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