Obama hearts El-Erian

December 26, 2012

By Sam Forgione and Matthew Goldstein

OK, so it’s not a big gig like being nominated to head the Treasury Dept. But President Obama’s decision to tap PIMCO’s Mohamed El-Erian to head the President’s Global Development Council is no insignificant matter.

As the co-chief investment officer of the giant bond shop founded by Bill Gross, El-Erian is seen as the eventual heir apparent to run the Newport Beach, Calif firm. And El-Erian increasingly has become one of PIMCO’s most visible faces—maybe even more than Gross himself these days–when it comes to talking about what ails the U.S. and global economies.

The assignment is another indication of PIMCO’s growing ties to the Washington establishment, something that has developed as the firm has grown to manage $1.92trillion in assets and played a starring role along with BlackRock in helping to manage some of the financial crisis rescue programs. (For more see the Special Report that Jenn Ablan led earlier this year on Gross and his empire, Twilight of the Bond King).

The job, in which El-Erian will serve as chairman, also is one more example of Obama’s outreach to the financial and business communities in the wake of his re-election. In the wake of his victory, Obama seems to be going out of his way to dispel the views that he pays no heed to what Wall Street or the business community¬† thinks.

Obama established the Council that El-Erian, 54, will head, earlier this year, with the aim that its members would advise him on issues such as sustainable economic growth and opportunities for partnership between the public and private sectors.

El-Erian, joined Pacific Investment Management Co. in 1999 as a senior member of the portfolio management and investment strategy group. One of El-Erian’s previous posts was at the International Monetary Fund, where he worked for 15 years and served as Deputy Director from 1995 to 1997.

Given El-Erian’s frequent commentaries and TV appearances, it will be interesting to see what he has to say about his new gig.

For the official White House announcement and other members of the council click here.


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