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Obama Names Chenault, Parsons to Jobs, Competitiveness Panel

President Barack Obama named representatives from business and labor to his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, including Kenneth Chenault, chief executive officer of American Express Co., Richard D. Parsons, chairman of CitiGroup Inc., and Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO.

Among others Obama named to the panel today were Ellen Kullman, CEO of DuPont Co, John Doerr, a senior partner with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm; Roger Ferguson, CEO of TIAA-CREF and a former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve, and Laura D’Andrea Tyson, a professor of economics at University of California-Berkley and former President Bill Clinton’s economic adviser.

Jeffrey Immelt, chief executive of General Electric Co., the world biggest maker of jet engines, was named by Obama on Jan. 21 to head the 23-member advisory body. Paul Otellini, the chief executive officer of Intel Corp., the world’s largest semiconductor maker, was named by Obama Feb. 17 to the panel, and AOL Inc. co-founder Steve Case was added yesterday.

Also named today were: Antonio Perez, chairman and chief executive of Eastman Kodak Co; Mark Gallogly, managing partner of Centerbridge Partners; Joseph T. Hansen, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union; Lewis “Lew” Hay III, chief executive of NextEra Energy Inc.; and Gary Kelly, board chairman of Southwest Airlines.

Other Members

In addition, Obama appointed A.G. Lafley, former board chairman, Procter & Gamble; Monica C. Lozano, publisher and chief executive of La Opinion, the U.S.’s largest Spanish newspaper; Darlene Miller, chief executive of Permac Industries; Penny Pritzker, chairman and chief executive of Pritzker Realty Group; Brian L. Roberts, chief executive of Comcast Corp. and board chairman of NBCUniversal; Matt Rose, chief executive of Burlington Northern Santa Fe; Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook; and Robert Wolf, Chairman of UBS America.

The panel is scheduled to conduct its first meeting tomorrow at the White House.

The advisory group replaces the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, which was given the task of advising the administration on measures to help the economy recover from the recession and had been in operation since Obama became president in January 2009. Its chairman was former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker and members included economists, business executives and labor union leaders.

The goals for the advisory group have changed because the economy “is in a different place,” and growing, the president said Jan. 21.

Gross Domestic Product

White House economists forecast that the gross domestic product will increase 2.7 percent this year and expand by 3.6 percent next year, according to economic assumptions in the 2012 budget proposal released Feb. 14.

The unemployment rate is forecast to average 9.3 percent for all of 2011, declining to an average of 8.6 percent next year, according to budget assumptions.

Obama created the council to offer “non-partisan advice” on how to strengthen the U.S. economy and ensure competitiveness while creating “jobs, opportunity and prosperity for the American people,” according to the executive order.

Volcker’s old panel, now defunct, had a maximum of 17 members. The new panel doesn’t list a maximum membership. Obama’s order says panelists shall come from the “private sector, employers and workers” and that it may include “citizens based on their expertise and experience.”

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