President-elect Joe Biden is considering Roger Ferguson, a former Federal Reserve vice chair, and Brian Deese, an executive at BlackRock, to be his top White House economic adviser, according to people familiar with the matter. If selected, Ferguson, now the chief executive of TIAA, would become the first African-American in the role of director of the National Economic Council, a prime position to guide the president on the direction of policy making. Deese, who was hired by BlackRock in 2017 to oversee its sustainable investment strategies, was a senior adviser to President Barack Obama on climate, conservation and energy.
Ferguson, 69, was vice chairman of the Fed’s Board of Governors from 1999 to 2006, the first Black person to hold that post. After the September 11 terrorist attacks, then Fed chairman Alan Greenspan was overseas and deputised Ferguson to carry out what was essentially the central bank’s war plan for market crises. He has spent about 12 years as the chief executive of TIAA, arriving there from the reinsurance company Swiss Re, where he headed financial services. He steered TIAA through the 2008 financial crisis. The organisation oversaw $1.2 trillion as of September 30, including the retirement savings of many Americans.