GE's Nason Tells White House He's Not Interested in Fed Job

  • Ex-Treasury official was being considered for supervision role
  • President Trump has struggled to fill Senate confirmed posts

David Nason, a leading candidate to be named the Federal Reserve’s bank supervision chief, has told the White House he is no longer interested in the job.

The chief executive officer of GE Energy Financial Services, Nason said in a statement Wednesday that he “plans to pursue opportunities at GE.” A senior Treasury Department official during the financial crisis, Nason was pushed for the job by National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.

David Nason

Source: GE Capital

Nason’s decision comes as President Donald Trump has struggled to fill Senate-confirmed roles across his administration, especially at agencies that oversee Wall Street. Though Nason had been in talks with Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for months, friends said the GE executive decided that the process was taking too long and was beginning to weigh on him personally and professionally.

The supervision chief would be responsible for the central bank’s regulatory side and potentially have great sway over how the largest financial firms like JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. run their businesses. The job also entails representing the Fed in international negotiations and carries a vote on the Federal Open Market Committee, which sets monetary policy.

The post of vice chairman for supervision has never been filled since it was created by the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, though much of its responsibilities were carried out by Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo during the Obama administration. Tarullo plans to leave the Fed next month.

With Nason out, there is no clear front-runner for the supervision job and the administration is likely to have to extend its search.

Robert Kimmitt, a former deputy Treasury secretary who worked with Nason in the George W. Bush administration, said he regrets that his ex-colleague decided to withdraw.

“He is a classic, conservative Republican who believes in market discipline and regulation that is limited and purposeful,” said Kimmitt. “It would have been wonderful for both the Fed and the country to have someone with his talents and inclination and background.”

Nason, 46, became the CEO of GE Energy Financial Services in 2013. The company, based in Stamford, Connecticut, manages some $15 billion in energy investments across the world. More than half of its portfolio is dedicated to renewable sources.

Other Candidates

Once Tarullo departs, Trump will have three governor positions to fill at the Fed. Some candidates, including U.S. Bancorp CEO Richard Davis, have also said recently they aren’t interested.

Republican Representative French Hill, a former banker who has been touted for the vice chairman job, said in a Bloomberg Television interview last week that he would “probably not” take the position, if it were offered. “I love being a member of the House Financial Services Committee, and that’s where I’m putting all my focus,” he said.

Another person who has been interviewed for the supervision job is Harvard Law School Professor Hal Scott, a longtime critic of financial regulation.

It’s not clear when there will be a final choice for any of the Fed governor slots. The lengthy deliberations within the Trump administration, however, are beginning to frustrate Wall Street.

“This is the most important nomination when it comes to the biggest banks,” said Jaret Seiberg, a policy analyst with Cowen & Co. “Until the president decides what to do, it is hard to see how the Trump administration can deliver any type of regulatory relief to the banks.”

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