Obama Names Immelt as Top Jobs Adviser

President wants the new Council on Jobs and Competitiveness to find new ways to encourage the private sector to hire and invest in America

President Barack Obama will name Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of General Electric to lead his new Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, the White House announced on Jan. 21.

The jobs-focused council effectively takes the place of an earlier external economic advisory council with a two-year time frame that had run its course. It was headed by former Federal reserve chairman Paul Volcker.

"Jeff Immelt's experience at GE and his understanding of the vital role the private sector plays in creating jobs and making America competitive makes him up to the challenge of leading this new Council," Obama said, offering thanks as well to Volcker from whom he said he would continue to seek counsel.

"Over the past two years, my Economic Recovery Advisory Board has provided this administration with support and expertise as we worked to bring our economy back from the brink and start recovering from an economic crisis that cost millions of American jobs," the U.S. president said.

"We still have a long way to go, and my number one priority is to ensure we are doing everything we can to get the American people back to work," Obama stressed.

So "as we enter a new phase in our recovery, I have asked the new Council to focus its work on finding new ways to encourage the private sector to hire and invest in American competitiveness," Obama said.

The council "will focus on finding new ways to promote growth by investing in American business to encourage hiring, to educate and train our workers to compete globally, and to attract the best jobs and businesses to the United States," the White House said.

Immelt is the ninth chairman of GE, a position he has held since 2001.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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