Daley, Obama Chief of Staff, Won’t Play Role in Consumer Search

William Daley, President Barack Obama’s chief of staff and former banking executive at JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), won’t participate in the selection of a nominee for the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the White House said.

Daley, 62, who took over as White House chief of staff in January, “may be involved in matters involving the CFPB and is not recused from those matters,” spokeswoman Amy Brundage said in a statement. However, she said, “Mr. Daley has chosen not to participate in the process of selecting a nominee for CFPB director,” the statement said.

The Obama administration is searching for a person to become the first director of an agency created by the Dodd-Frank regulatory overhaul law. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has designated July 21 as the starting date for the bureau, which would perform a watchdog role overseeing credit cards, mortgages and other financial products.

Daley is the former Midwest chairman and head of corporate responsibility at JPMorgan. The Washington Post, which first reported the story, said Daley oversaw Chase’s lobbying unit, which ultimately supported consumer protections but opposed a regulator to enforce them.

Pete Rouse, a senior adviser to Obama, is leading the selection process for the first director of the agency, Brundage said.

Confirmation Questions

Elizabeth Warren, the Treasury Department and White House adviser charged with setting up the agency, hasn’t been publicly ruled out as a potential nominee. Still, the consumer advocate and Harvard law professor took over as an adviser to help set up the agency after Democratic lawmakers expressed doubts about whether she could win Senate confirmation.

Warren said in an interview with CNBC on March 22 that “there is a process in place that the president is using” to find the agency’s first director and declined to say whether she wants the nomination. “The job I want is the job I have now,” she said.

Jennifer Granholm, former Michigan governor, turned down an overture from the Obama administration to head the agency, Bloomberg News reported March 22. Granholm left office on Jan. 1 after two terms as governor.

Daley took over as chief of staff after leaving JPMorgan on Jan. 7. He resigned from the boards of Boeing Co. (BA) and Abbott Laboratories (ABT) the same day.

His background in business and finance -- he joined New York-based JPMorgan, the second-biggest U.S. bank by assets, in 2004 -- was among the reasons Obama picked him for the job, as the president seeks to reach out to the business community in the second half of his term.

Daley was President Bill Clinton’s commerce secretary from January 1997 to June 2000. He served as president of SBC Communications Inc., now AT&T Inc. (T), for more than two years before moving to JPMorgan.

To contact the reporters on this story: Roger Runningen in Washington at rrunningen@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva in Washington at msilva34@bloomberg.net.

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