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AmEx, Xerox CEOs reportedly considered for Obama Cabinet posts

December 18, 2012|By Jim Puzzanghera
  • Kenneth Chenault, chief executive of American Express Co., is reportedly under consideration to become secretary of the Treasury.
Kenneth Chenault, chief executive of American Express Co., is reportedly… (Andrew Serban / Bloomberg…)

WASHINGTON -- President Obama, who has faced criticism that he has been hostile to big business, reportedly is considering two major corporate chief executives for positions in his second-term Cabinet.

American Express Co. Chief Executive Kenneth Chenault has been approached by White House officials about succeeding Timothy F. Geithner as Treasury secretary or serving in another role, such as Commerce secretary or a top advisor to Obama, Bloomberg News reported.

Xerox Corp. Chief Executive Ursula Burns also is being considered for Commerce secretary, Bloomberg said.

Both have been Obama supporters and serve on the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. They were among a dozen corporate executives who met with him at the White House last month to discuss the "fiscal cliff" problem.

A White House spokeswoman declined to comment on the report, as did a spokeswoman for American Express. A Xerox spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Obama is looking at possible replacements for Cabinet officials who are stepping down after his first term. Geithner has said he plans to leave when Obama's term ends Jan. 20. White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew has been considered the leading candidate to replace him.

The Commerce position has been filled on an acting basis by Rebecca Blank, who took over in June after John Bryson resigned for medical reasons following a seizure that led to two San Gabriel Valley hit-and-run accidents.

Bryson, a former chief executive at Edison International, the parent company of Southern California Edison, was brought into the Obama administration in October 2011 in part because of his corporate background.

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