Expert View - Obama set to appoint Jack Lew as Treasury chief

NEW YORK Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:47am IST

White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew looks on at a bipartisan meeting with Congressional leaders in the Roosevelt Room of White House to discuss the economy, November 16, 2012. REUTERS/Larry Downing/Files

White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew looks on at a bipartisan meeting with Congressional leaders in the Roosevelt Room of White House to discuss the economy, November 16, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing/Files

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama will nominate Jack Lew, the White House chief of staff, as his next Treasury secretary on Thursday, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Lew had been widely expected to be tapped to succeed Timothy Geithner. He previously served as budget director for Obama and for former President Bill Clinton.

COMMENTS:

ADAM POSEN, PRESIDENT OF PETERSON INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICS:

"The first thing Jack Lew is going to have to face is that there is an international side. It's not going to be foremost for the next few months, nor should it be. But he's not going to be able to ignore it for much longer...He's...obviously someone who's never worked on the international side of the ball."

SHEILA BAIR, FORMER DIRECTOR OF US BANK REGULATOR FDIC, SPEAKING ON CNBC:

"Someone with a little broader perspective would be good, but Mr. Lew clearly has the confidence of the president... Whoever the key players are going to be, we need to get them in place and get on with these fiscal problems that we have that are substantial and a real threat to our country."

MICHELLE GIRARD, SENIOR U.S. ECONOMIST AT RBS:

"I think it's been pretty well advertised. I think that Republicans will probably not put up much of a fight, I don't think Republicans are terribly excited about the pick, but I don't think that they'll do anything to derail the nomination. I think that he'll be confirmed and they'll go on to the battles that need to be fought.

"In the past there has been some displeasure on the Republican part with the way that prior discussions have been handled, but clearly given his role and his experience, he looks like he's well-qualified to be leading this debate.

"Right now there are so many fiscal issues that need to be resolved, I'd rather have somebody with his experience and less international experience. Obviously that's the issue of the day, so you have to pick the person who's the most qualified on the most pressing issues."

BRIAN GARDNER, HEAD OF WASHINGTON RESEARCH AT BROKERAGE KEEFE, BRUYETTE AND WOODS:

"Since Mr. Lew will represent the President and his views, we do not expect a major philosophical shift at Treasury. However, we note two important points: his experience is strongest regarding the federal budget, but not as strong in terms of financial regulation.

"First, Mr. Lew's experience is strongest in terms of the federal budget (he recently served as director of the Office of Management and Budget), so we expect Mr. Lew to be an active player in budget talks, including entitlement and tax reform.

"Second, in our view, Mr. Lew lacks significant experience in financial regulatory matters and the financial markets, notwithstanding his work at Citi Alternative Investments during the previous decade. While he can undoubtedly learn the material on the job, we question whether he has sufficient relationships with the banking industry in the U.S. and abroad, which can be critical during a financial crisis. We think this means that if such a crisis were to erupt during his tenure, he will need to rely, at least initially, on the Fed or another Treasury official who has strong relationships and experience with the financial markets." (Americas Economics and Markets Desk; +1-646 223-6300)

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