In a move that could help improve the White House’s rocky relationship with the business world, President Obama is exploring hiring long-time American Express (AXP) CEO Kenneth Chenault to take over the Treasury Department from the outgoing Timothy Geithner.
According to FOX News’s Ed Henry, White House officials have spoken to Chenault about a variety of jobs in the second term, including the prized role of Treasury secretary.
Chenault, 61, has served as CEO and chairman of card giant AmEx since 2001 and also sits on the boards of IBM (IBM) and Procter & Gamble (PG).
Chenault, a member of the Executive Committee of the Business Council, has been rumored to be a potential replacement for Geithner in the past.
According to Henry, Chenault has also been talked about privately as a potential secretary of the Commerce Department or a so-called “Secretary of Business” if Obama’s plan to reorganize Commerce and the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office goes forward.
Despite the speculation about Chenault, Jack Lew, the White House chief of staff, is still seen as the top contender for the Treasury post.
A number of other high-profile business execs have also been floated as possible Treasury secretaries in the past, including J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon, Google (GOOG) Chairman Eric Schmidt and BlackRock (BLK) CEO Larry Fink.
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