Kenneth Chenault, AmEx CEO, Approached By White House About Treasury Secretary Job: Report

12/18/2012 04:51 pm ET
  • Bonnie Kavoussi Master's student in economics, the University of Michigan

The White House has approached Kenneth Chenault, CEO of American Express, about becoming Treasury Secretary, Commerce Secretary, or a senior adviser, Bloomberg reports.

Still, it's unlikely Chenault will be tapped to replace Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who has said he plans to step down this year. Instead, Jacob Lew, the White House's chief of staff, is reportedly the frontrunner to become the next Treasury Secretary, according to Bloomberg.

Lew's name has been circulating for some time as the frontrunner for the post. Some have criticized his close ties to Wall Street because of his stint at Citigroup. Matt Taibbi, the Rolling Stone writer often critical of big banks, told Current TV on Monday that the White House would be picking "a Wall Street person" by nominating Lew.

Lew worked at Citigroup between 2006 and 2009. In 2008, as chief operating officer of Citigroup Alternative Investments, he invested in a hedge fund that bet correctly on the housing market's collapse. Citigroup received three government bailouts during the financial crisis.

Like Geithner, Lew has spent most of his career in government service. He served as the White House's budget director before becoming chief of staff. But he has shown signs of being friendly with Wall Street. He told a Senate panel in 2010 that he does not believe deregulation led to the financial crisis.

There also has been speculation that Obama might nominate BlackRock CEO Larry Fink as Treasury Secretary, since Geithner talked to Fink 49 times between January 1, 2011, and June 30, 2012: the most out of any Wall Street CEO by far, according to The Financial Times. Lael Brainard, a top Treasury official, also could be a contender, according to Quartz.

Earlier on HuffPost:

CEOs Who Get Paid Significantly More Than Their Employees

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