- NEW YORK POST - Thornton McEnery - NOV 30, 2020 -
BlackRock poised to replace Goldman Sachs inside the White House
Forget “Government Sachs” — it’s BlackRock that’s shaping up to become Wall Street’s new elephant inside the White House.
President-elect Joe Biden is raising eyebrows with chatter that he’s poised to name two executives from BlackRock — the asset-management colossus headed by billionaire Larry Fink, with more than $7 trillion in holdings — for top posts on his economic team.
Reports swirled over the weekend that Biden has settled on Brian Deese, a current BlackRock executive and former adviser to President Barack Obama, to lead the National Economic Council. On Sunday, Biden’s transition team said it has chosen Adewale “Wally” Adeyemo, a former chief of staff to Fink at BlackRock who is currently president of the Obama Foundation, to be deputy to Treasury secretary nominee Janet Yellen.
Meanwhile, executives at Goldman Sachs — which over the years earned the moniker “Government Sachs” for the top executives from its ranks who have landed in the White House, including Gary Cohn and Steven Mnuchin in the Trump administration — have been conspicuously absent from Biden’s lists, insiders say.
“What Larry is doing is very smart, very him,” said one hedge fund manager familiar with Fink. “Goldman and other banks have sent their people into government, whereas Larry took these guys from the White House, worked with them, backed Biden, and now he’s putting them back into the White House.”
Despite his vocal endorsement of various liberal causes, the 68-year-old billionaire Fink and his fund have become preferred whipping posts for the left. BlackRock’s investments in private prisons and weapons manufacturers have made Fink a target for protesters who have ambushed him at conferences and demanded he be removed from the boards of the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney.
Still, Fink was one of the few Wall Street titans to publicly support Biden during the election, with some rumors circulating that he had his eye on Treasury or the National Economic Council role that Deese now looks poised to fill. Without joining the White House himself, having BlackRock alums in Biden’s ear could be helpful to Fink as the economy recovers from the coronavirus.
Deese, 42, is not a trained economist but he played a key role throughout the Obama administration, working on everything from the auto bailout to the Paris Climate Agreement to Merrick Garland’s failed nomination to the Supreme Court. After Trump’s inauguration, Deese joined BlackRock as global head of sustainable investing. That role puts him in control of one of Fink’s pet projects: making climate change a key talking point for BlackRock.
“Larry is the new Goldman Sachs,” said one investment banker. “Deese is not necessarily a ‘BlackRock guy,’ but he works for Larry and now he advises the president.”