President Barack Obama, anxious to spur growth and tackle unemployment, will name two top executives from Boeing and Xerox on Thursday to spearhead his drive to boost U.S. exports, the White House said.

Obama, who pledged in his State of the Union address to double U.S. exports over five years to support 2 million jobs, will make the announcement in Washington when he speaks to the Export-Import Bank's annual conference on his trade strategy.

A White House official said Obama would name Boeing Co president and chief executive Jim McNerney and Xerox Co chief executive Ursula Burns to lead the President's Export Council.

Founded in 1973 by former President Richard Nixon, the council is a key forum for the private sector to communicate its trade views to the U.S. administration.

Obama will also create a new Export Promotion Cabinet, drawn from government departments including Treasury, State, Commerce and Agriculture in support of his efforts, the White House said.

Trade is a central part of Obama's drive of shift Americans away from an over-reliance on borrowing and consumption, replacing those sources of economic activity with investment and greater exports to the rest of the world.

Exports could help the United States recover from the worst recession in 50 years, caused by the collapse of the country's housing market, and unemployment at a towering 9.7 percent.

But critics say Obama has not backed up his words with action to advance free trade agreements with Panama, Colombia, and South Korea, and they are skeptical that his top-down initiatives to lift exports will deliver results.

Beyond another bureaucratic incarnation -- in the form of a new Export Promotion Cabinet -- the details for achieving that growth in exports are missing,Republican Senator Chuck Grassley said in congressional testimony last week during hearings on Obama's 2010 trade agenda.

Some members of Obama's Democratic Party are hostile to further trade deregulation and blame deals done in the past for costing American jobs.

Obama's Thursday export speech will be followed on Monday by the first round of talks on the Transpacific Partnership in Melbourne. Obama has said the TPP will set the standard for future U.S. trade deals, with greater protection for workers and the environment than was previously the case.