Obama meets with top CEOs, investors

on December 15 2010 6:50 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama walks out of the White House to cross Pennsylvania Avenue to meet with business leaders at Blair House in Washington, December 15, 2010.
U.S. President Barack Obama walks out of the White House to cross Pennsylvania Avenue to meet with business leaders at Blair House in Washington, December 15, 2010. REUTERS

With American businesses holding nearly $2 trillion on their books, President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that a meeting with corporate executives of 20 of the largest U.S. companies will help elicit a variety of ideas to grow the economy and boost jobs amid an anemic recovery.

Spurring economic growth is what I'll talk about, he said at the White House on Wednesday. This is one of many discussions we'll be having in the months ahead to find new ways to spur hiring, put Americans back to work and move our economy forward.

Obama's meeting will also focus on investing in innovation and competitiveness, he said.

The meeting is taking place at Blair House, just a short walk across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and National Economic Council Chairman Larry Summers were also set to attend.

Among the CEOs the President is meeting are Scott Davis, the head of UPS, Jeffrey Immelt of General Electric, James McNerney of Boeing and Eric Schmidt of Google.

His expectation was to elicit ideas from these business leaders that will help us not only climb out of recession, but seize the promise of this moment, he said.

Other topics he expects to bring up and get feedback on are ideas about climbing out of the recession, tax reform, approaches to regulation that will promote growth, encouraging businesses to invest in the U.S. and U.S. jobs.

UPS CEO Scott Davis recently praised the Free Trade Agreement the U.S. negotiated with South Korea, saying it would mean more jobs, more global competitiveness and an anchor for U.S. economic engagement in Asia. He said he was hopeful that the U.S. can turn immediately to completion of other pending trade agreements.

The meeting also includes partners at a pair of investment firms: private equity investor Mark Gallogly, a former Blackstone executive who now helps manage Centerbridge Partners, a firm based in New York that specializes in leveraged buyouts and trade in distressed securities; and John Doerr, a partner in the venture capital firm of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Other companies represented include Motorola, Cisco Systems, American Express, Honeywell International, NextEra Energy, DuPont, Eli Lilly, Dow Chemical, PepsiCo, Intel, Pritzker Realty Group, Comcast, Duke Energy and UBS.

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