President Obama is launching a new economic advisory council focused on job creation and competitiveness and has named General Electric chief executive Jeffrey Immelt as its head, the administration announced early Friday morning.
Immelt will lead the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. The council is replacing the Economic Recovery Advisory Board, which Obama created two years ago to help guide the administration's response to the recession.
The recovery board has been chaired by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker. In a statement, Obama announced that Volcker will step down next month from his role advising the administration.
The council's new leadership and mission reflects the administration's shift from trying to halt the recession to broader efforts to improve the U.S. economy and create jobs. Administration officials did not say who else would join the new council.
"As we enter a new phase in our recovery, I have asked the new council to focus its work on finding new ways to encourage the private sector to hire and invest in American competitiveness," Obama said in a statement.
Immelt has long served as an informal adviser to the administration on business issues and sat on the board that Volcker chaired. In an op-ed in The Washington Post on Friday, he highlighted free trade, innovation and experts as among the priorities of the new council.
"It is possible to be a competitive global enterprise and still care about your home," Immelt wrote. "... Persistent and high unemployment - and the pessimism it breeds - should not be accepted. We must work together to construct an economy that creates more opportunity for more people."
Obama will travel to Schenectady, New York on Friday to meet with Immelt at a General Electric turbine plant that is located where the company was founded. The men will tour the site and speak to reporters about job creation efforts, the White House said.
Read more at The Washington Post.