Trump picks Mnuchin as treasury secretary, Ross for commerce

Mnuchin/Ross
Steven Mnuchin, left, and Wilbur Ross

President-elect Donald J. Trump nominated Steven Mnuchin for treasury secretary and Wilbur Ross for commerce secretary, the transition team announced Wednesday.

Mr. Mnuchin, who served at Mr. Trump's national campaign finance chairman, is a former Goldman Sachs Group (GS) executive who later formed hedge fund Dune Capital Management.

Mr. Ross, a Trump economic adviser on trade policy, founded WL Ross & Co., the private equity subsidiary of Invesco (IVZ). He is currently chairman and chief strategist of the firm.

Mr. Mnuchin said in a statement: “I understand what needs to be done to fix the economy. I look forward to helping President-elect Trump implement a bold economic agenda that creates good-paying jobs and defends the American worker.” He has pledged to undo parts of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that impede lending, including the Volcker Rule that restricts U.S. banks from certain kinds of investments and short-term proprietary trading.

In the same statement, Mr. Ross said he will work closely with Mr. Mnuchin to implement economic programs developed jointly to accelerate economic growth.

Financial Services Roundtable CEO Tim Pawlenty called Mr. Mnuchin “a seasoned and results-oriented leader who is really smart, interested in public policy and understands the urgent need to boost economic growth and opportunity."

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, warned that Mr. Mnuchin “will be Trump's point person on taking apart Wall Street reform,” including dismantling Dodd-Frank.

Dennis Kelleher, president and CEO of non-profit advocacy group Better Markets, said: “If Mr. Munchin and President Trump deregulate and unleash Wall Street's biggest banks as they are suggesting, then it's time to start the countdown clock to the next financial crash, which will make the last one look mild by comparison.”