White House names three nominees for Treasury top jobs

The White House announced yesterday three nominees for senior jobs at the US Treasury Department but continues to struggle to fill top ranks while it is trying to deal with a financial crisis.

The three nominees were announced just days after two contenders for more senior posts withdrew their names, fanning concern that Treasury's failure to quickly assemble a team potentially hinders its effectiveness at a critical time.

The three nominees for the key posts are:

Lawyer David S Cohen, for the position of assistant Treasury secretary, terrorist financing. Cohen, who worked at Treasury previously, was until recently a partner in the law firm WilmerHale; economist Alan Krueger for the job of assistant secretary, economic policy. Krueger taught at Princeton University and is widely published on a variety of economic issues; financial specialist Kim Wallace, nominated for assistant secretary, legislative affairs. Wallace previously was a managing director for the Washington research group at Barclays Capital and before that spent 14 years at now-defunct Lehman Brothers Group.

The positions require US Senate confirmation.

All three of the nominees are serving as counsellors to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. But there still is no deputy Treasury secretary and two key undersecretaries – for international policy and domestic finance – have not yet been filled. Undersecretaries are senior to assistant secretaries.

On Thursday, it was revealed that former Securities and Exchange commissioner Annette Nazareth had withdrawn from consideration to become a deputy Treasury secretary due to personal reasons and that she would remain in her private securities law practice.

In addition, Geithner's choice for international affairs undersecretary, Caroline Atkinson, also pulled her name from consideration. Atkinson, a senior official at the International Monetary Fund, has decided to remain at the institution, a person familiar with the decision said.

Both Nazareth and Atkinson had been vetted for the jobs but had not been formally nominated.

Lee Sachs, also currently a counsellor to Geithner, is widely considered a top contender for undersecretary for domestic finance, but also has not been formally nominated.

Sachs was most recently a partner and fund manager at Mariner Investment Group and is currently involved in developing the Treasury's bank rescue plan.

 

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