Brian Deese, Assistant Director of the White House National Economic Council, speaks in the White House briefing room in Washington, DC, United States on Tuesday, April 17, 2012.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
WASHINGTON – President-elect Joe Biden announced Thursday that Brian Deese, currently head of sustainable investing at BlackRock, will serve as director of the National Economic Council.
Deese is a former deputy director of the National Economic Council, deputy director of the Department of Administration and Budget, and senior advisor to President Obama.
The appointment, which does not require Senate confirmation, underscores the president-elect's focus on both restoring the economy from the Covid-19 recession and realigning U.S. efforts to address the effects and causes of climate change.
"Brian is one of the most tried and tested officials in the country," Biden said in a statement.
He is "a trustworthy voice I can count on to end the ongoing economic crisis, build a better economy everyone deals with, and address the existential threat of climate change in ways that create well-paying American jobs." "added Biden.
After working on Obama's 2008 campaign, Deese joined the White House as a member of the National Economic Council and was later promoted to deputy director. In later years, he became Obama's senior advisor on issues that focused in part on climate change and energy.
During his years in the Obama White House, Deese played a pivotal role in drafting the global climate agreement that was reached in Paris in 2015.
President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the deal during his tenure, despite Biden announcing that he would reverse that decision.
Some progressives have raised concerns about Deese's work for BlackRock, the world's largest wealth manager, arguing that the president's chief economic adviser shouldn't have close ties with corporations and the financial industry.
However, Deese's work for BlackRock focused on the manager's sustainable investment strategy as part of a top-down initiative to invest in and promote companies that have a proven record of good governance and work to reduce their impact on the environment.
Larry Fink, BlackRock CEO and Deese's boss, has repeatedly emphasized his company's growing focus on sustainable investment and climate change. In his letter to the CEOs from 2020, Fink himself wrote: "Climate risk is investment risk."