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Trump eyes ex-Microsoft staffer as top economic aide

Washington

CHRIS Liddell, a former executive at Microsoft Corp and General Motors, is under consideration to become US President Donald Trump's top economic adviser, a White House official said on Sunday, confirming earlier media reports.

Mr Trump is searching for a new director for the White House National Economic Council after Gary Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs president, said he would resign.

Mr Cohn announced his resignation this past week after losing a battle over the President's long-standing desire to impose large tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

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Peter Navarro, a trade adviser to Mr Trump who promoted the tariffs, has also been touted as a candidate for the top economic job, though he has said he is not in the running. Conservative commentator Larry Kudlow has also been cited as a contender.

Mr Liddell's background running major companies and his behind-the-scenes efficiency at the White House has made him an attractive candidate, the official said.

Mr Liddell, 59, has earned respect at the White House for his work on projects such as information technology modernisation and electronic health records, which have required intensive coordination with government agencies, the official said.

Since joining the administration in early-2017, Mr Liddell has worked closely with Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser, on efforts to streamline and update some government functions.

That includes the way the government buys technology or the services it offers citizens online.

Mr Liddell, a New Zealander by birth, became Microsoft's chief financial officer in 2005, leading the company through the economic downturn.

After joining General Motors in 2010, he helped guide the automaker's recovery from bankruptcy and execute the company's return to the public market. REUTERS/NYTIMES