On March 19, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly appointed Chris Liddell of New Zealand to be his Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Coordination.
Liddell has previously worked as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of General Motors, Microsoft, and The International Paper company.
After being awarded “New Zealand Business Leader of the Year” in 2010, he was appointed to be a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services in relation to business and philanthropy.
He was also later named “New Zealand’s Most Successful Man” by local media, granting him a place as a contender to be Trump’s chief economic adviser, which was later given to Gary Cohn on Jan. 20, 2017.
Gary Cohn recently resigned on March 6, following Trump’s proposal to impose import tariffs on steel and aluminum and Trump’s cancellation of a meeting which Cohn had arranged in order to change Trump’s mind about the tariffs.
After relocating to the United States and gaining U.S. citizenship, Liddell worked as the Executive Director of Transition Planning for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in 2012.
Five years later in the winter of 2017, Liddell was appointed as an assistant to Trump and the Director of Strategic Initiatives.
When he was first appointed to Trump’s administration, Liddell seemed much more hopeful about what Trump would bring to the table as he discussed in an interview with Corin Dann on TVNZ back in November of 2016.
When asked if he believed Trump’s xenophobia, racism, and sexism would continue on once Trump was in the White House, Liddell seemed naively optimistic.
“I think you’ll see a much more moderate position,” Liddell said. “He is really wanting to do some things, but Donald Trump’s a very atypical president. He’s not a traditional Republican. He’s not a traditional Democrat. He’s a mixture of both of them. And if you want to take an optimistic view, and I’m optimistic, I think he will actually come up with some policies that both sides will be willing to look at.”
Liddell participates in interviews rather periodically, so it is not currently known what he thinks about the Trump administration at this point in time.
Along with his newest job as Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Coordination, Liddell also serves as a top aide in the Office of American Innovation, which is led by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
Liddell was once again in the running to take Gary Cohn’s open position as National Economic Council Director, but he was once again passed up.
According to CNN, it is likely that Liddell’s promotion will elevate a Kushner ally to a higher position at Kelly’s side at a time where tensions between Kelly and Kushner are relaying back and forth.
In a time where the qualifications of those appointed for positions within the White House are demanded immediately, Kelly was quick to affirm that Liddell is “highly qualified to oversee and coordinate our policy process.”