Obama names Sperling to lead US economic council


President Barack Obama on Friday named former Clinton administration adviser Gene Sperling as head of the National Economic Council, rounding out his White House team as he prepares to battle Republicans on overhauling the corporate tax code and lowering the deficit.

Mr. Obama said Mr. Sperling, who is replacing Larry Summers, has been an “extraordinary asset” to the administration in the last few years. The president also appointed several others to economic posts, capping a week of reshuffling at the White House that includes the departure of White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and the choice of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. executive Bill Daley as the president’s new chief of staff.

Mr. Obama, speaking at a window manufacturing plant in Maryland, said his new team will help “maximize” proposals to grow the economy. The president said the economy is trending in the right direction, even while acknowledging a jobs report released Friday underscored more needs to be done.

Mr. Sperling is currently a senior adviser to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and was expected to be named as director of NEC. His skills include navigating through turbulent partisan waters. He helped lead negotiations for the Obama administration during a tough fight over Bush-era tax cuts. While Republicans got what they wanted—an extension of tax cuts for the wealthy—the party also had to stomach a series of Democratic proposals.

Mr. Sperling was an NEC director under President Bill Clinton when the White House and the Republican party struck a series of bipartisan compromises, including an agreement to balance the budget. He also has Wall Street experience, having worked with companies such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

The president praised Mr. Sperling for helping turn “deficits to surpluses” under Mr. Clinton.

In addition to Mr. Sperling, Obama also named former Bureau of Labor Statistics commissioner Katharine Abraham to the Council of Economic Advisers and Heather Higginbottom as deputy director at the White House Office of Management and Budget. Ms. Higginbottom is a policy director at the White House.

The president elevated Jason Furman to principal deputy director of the NEC and an assistant on economic policy. Mr. Furman currently works at the NEC. WSJ