Obama considers J.P. Morgan's Daley as senior aide
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama is considering tapping J.P. Morgan Chase executive William Daley for a senior role in the White House, possibly chief of staff, a person familiar with the matter said on Monday.
Daley is also a former commerce secretary. If he were chosen, the move would help satisfy a clamor in the business community to have greater representation for private industry within the administration.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, cautioned that no decision had been made. Obama, on the last leg of his Hawaiian vacation, has been considering an array of staffing decisions during his break.
One of the biggest decisions confronting him when he returns on Tuesday is a replacement for top White House economic adviser Larry Summers. Democratic sources say senior Treasury official Gene Sperling has emerged as the leading candidate for that job.
In another staff move, Obama is weighing whether to elevate the role of auto czar Ron Bloom to a broader manufacturing post at the White House. The leader of Obama's automotive task force is currently focused on overseeing the restructuring of General Motors Co and Chrysler Group.
Longtime Obama aide Pete Rouse is currently serving as interim chief of staff. He replaced Rahm Emanuel, who left the administration in October to enter the race for mayor of Chicago.
Many businesspeople had hoped Obama would fill Summers' job as director of the National Economic Council with a chief executive. While Sperling has done consulting work for Goldman Sachs, his career has been heavily focused on public policy.
Daley served at Commerce during former President Bill Clinton's administration.
Daley would bring a breadth of experience in business, not just in the financial sector. He serves on the board of Boeing Co. and has served in the past as director at Merck and Co. He is also a past president of SBC Communications.
J.P. Morgan spokesman Joe Evangelisti declined to comment.
Obama's Democratic party suffered what he called a "shellacking" in the November midterm elections. Since then, the president has sought to mend frayed ties with the business community, which views his new healthcare law and other policies as burdensome to private industry.
Fixing the economy is crucial to Obama's hopes for re-election in 2012 and boosting business confidence could help fuel the recovery by encouraging firms to step up their hiring and investing.
Obama is considering a push to streamline the corporate tax code, an idea that is popular with businesses.
In addition to his business experience, Daley would bring a long resume of political experience and a connection to Obama's hometown, Chicago shared by other close aides to the president. Daley is a brother of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.
In 2000, Daley served as chairman of Democrat Al Gore's presidential campaign.
(Additional reporting by Elinor Comlay in New York and Karey Wutkowski in Washington; Editing by Todd Eastham)
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