December 2, 2016 / 6:46 PM / a year ago

Trump creates business advisory council stacked with CEOs

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President-elect Donald Trump announced the formation of a council to advise him on job creation, a group comprised of the leaders of a variety of major U.S. corporations including GE, GM, Boeing, Disney and IBM.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Cincinnati, Ohio, December 1, 2016 as part of "USA Thank You Tour 2016". REUTERS/William Philpott

Stephen Schwarzman, chief executive officer of major investment firm Blackstone Group LP (BX.N), will chair the council.

“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,” Trump said in a statement announcing the formation of the council.

Trump called Schwarzman earlier this week to ask for his help in chairing the council, according to a source familiar with the discussions who was not authorized to speak publicly on the arrangements. The two men, who are not friends and have not done business together before, drafted a list of CEOs to ask to participate in the forum, and then Schwarzman asked each individual to participate.

The forum could meet as frequently as monthly, the source said.

Trump has said that his top priorities will include cutting regulations that affect business and lowering the corporate tax rate, positions business leaders have cheered.

Presidents often convene councils of business leaders. President Barack Obama frequently met with the CEOs of large companies and often spoke before the Business Roundtable, comprised of CEOs of big corporations.

In 2011, Obama convened a jobs council that was led by General Electric Co (GE.N) CEO Jeff Immelt and an export council headed by Xerox Corp (XRX.N) CEO Ursula Burns.

Obama and business leaders worked on trade, technology and immigration efforts.

Some members of Trump’s council also served in advisory roles with Obama, including Bob Iger, the CEO of Walt Disney Co (DIS.N); Jim McNerney, former CEO of Boeing Co (BA.N) ; and Ginni Rometty, CEO of International Business Machines Corp (IBM.N). All three served on Obama’s export council and will continuing advising the next administration.

Noticeably absent from the council are heads of leading U.S. technology companies such as Google’s parent Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Facebook Inc (FB.O). Trump’s transition team has been slow to establish a group to address cyber security and other technology issues.

The council could still add leaders from technology companies, a source familiar with the formation of the group said.

The members of Trump’s council include:

Additional reporting by Gui Qing Koh and Gregory Roumeliotis; Editing by David Gregorio and Jonathan Oatis

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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