The ability to toggle between the likes of Mr. Geithner and Ms. Warren was an early sign of Mr. Adeyemo’s knack for straddling the moderate and progressive wings of the Democratic Party’s policymaking machine. At his 2015 confirmation hearing to be the Treasury’s assistant secretary for international markets and development, Ms. Warren offered effusive praise.
“He remembers who he grew up with, and he tries every day to make this a better country,” said Ms. Warren, who became one of the most prominent progressives within the Democratic Party. A spokeswoman said Ms. Warren would support Mr. Adeyemo’s nomination as deputy secretary.
Mr. Adeyemo ultimately became deputy chief of staff at the Treasury, serving under Jacob J. Lew. In that role, he was immersed in many issues including sanctions and international trade. During the negotiations over the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership, Mr. Adeyemo was focused on brokering a deal over currency provisions in the agreement’s foreign exchange chapter.
Mr. Lew recalled Mr. Adeyemo’s flying across the world from Asia to Latin America and engaging in economic shuttle diplomacy to broker an agreement that would create greater transparency and enforcement of foreign exchange policy in the deal.
“He put together an approach that frankly has withstood the test of time, even though TPP has not had U.S. participation,” Mr. Lew said in an interview. “It became the model of how currency issues were dealt with in subsequent trade agreements.”
In 2015, Mr. Obama recruited Mr. Adeyemo to the White House to be his international economic adviser on the National Security Council. He represented the president at the Group of 20 and Group of 7 summits and steered the international economic policy agenda across government agencies.
The soft-spoken and deliberate Mr. Adeyemo’s approach will provide a stark contrast to the Trump administration’s combative tone in economic diplomacy. At the 2016 event sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Mr. Adeyemo described the importance of encouraging China to liberalize its markets by making the case that doing so was in its own economic interests — and in the interests of the United States.
Infront: Adewale Adeyemo, Barack Obama, and Susan Rice
“A growing Chinese economy is an economy where U.S. companies can sell goods and services,” he said. “And a growing Chinese economy is something that will help boost global growth.”
That multilateral approach to dealing with China could be a complication for Mr. Adeyemo at his confirmation hearing, as Republicans have become accustomed to Mr. Trump’s confrontational stance.
And Mr. Adeyemo’s work at BlackRock will probably raise questions from some Democrats, as progressives have already expressed their displeasure.
Robert Kuttner, founder of The American Prospect, a progressive publication, warned this week that BlackRock could stand to gain if Mr. Adeyemo got the No. 2 job at the Treasury, saying he could work to prevent tougher regulatory oversight of the asset manager.
Matt Stoller, the director of research at the American Economic Liberties Project, a left-leaning group that targets corporate power, suggested that BlackRock worked to implant officials that would do its bidding inside the federal government.
“BlackRock needs to be broken up and regulated,” Mr. Stoller said. “BlackRock C.E.O. Larry Fink knows this, so he’s been storing hack Democrats on ice so they can go into the Biden administration and make sure that doesn’t happen.”
A BlackRock spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
A Biden transition team aide said Mr. Adeyemo, who was hired to establish BlackRock’s internal think tank, did not have any business responsibility for or oversight of its investments or policy decisions. The aide said the experience also deepened Mr. Adeyemo’s understanding of financial markets and the role that firms like BlackRock play in creating wealth for the middle class.
David S. Cohen, the Treasury’s under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence during the Obama administration, said Mr. Adeyemo’s familiarity with the inner workings of the Treasury and experience with domestic policy, international economics and national security would make him a strong partner for Ms. Yellen, who is an academic economist and former central banker.
“In some respects, he’s a perfect complement to Yellen at Treasury,” Mr. Cohen said.
Source: The New York Times