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Geithner, Summers to lead economic team

President-elect Barack Obama plans to name Timothy Geithner as treasury secretary and Lawrence Summers to direct the National Economic Council, transition officials said.
/ Source: staff and news service reports

President-elect Barack Obama planned to announce the leaders of his economic team Monday, naming Timothy Geithner as treasury secretary and Lawrence Summers to direct the National Economic Council, transition officials confirmed Saturday.

NBC News reported Friday that Geithner would likely be named treasury secretary. The news helped send the Dow Jones industrial average soaring 500 points after several days of steep losses.

If confirmed by the Senate, Geithner, 47, president of the New York Federal Reserve, would be the top Cabinet official in charge of leading the administration's response to the global economic crisis.

Geithner served as a Treasury Department official during the Clinton administration, where he played a major role in negotiating assistance packages for South Korea and Brazil.

Summers, 53, a former treasury secretary under Bill Clinton and one-time president of Harvard University, will advise Obama from the White House. Officials said he would coordinate the federal response to the economic meltdown across several agencies, including a plan Obama announced Saturday to create or save 2.5 million new jobs by rebuilding infrastructure and modernizing schools while developing alternative energy sources and more efficient cars.

During the Clinton administration, Summers helped craft the U.S. support program for Mexico during its 1995 financial crisis. He later helped lead the U.S. response to the Asian financial crisis of 1997.

During Summers' tenure, the United States used budget surpluses to repurchase Treasury debt for the first time since the 1920s. He also extended the life of the Social Security and Medicare trust funds.

Summers was a key figure domestically and internationally in securing significant expansion in debt relief for the world's poorest and most indebted countries — a measure that led to the increased availability of funds for primary health care and education in a number of countries. He also played an important role in negotiating the United States' agreement to allow China to join the World Trade Organization.

During Summers' tenure, the United States marked the longest period of sustained economic growth in its history.

Geithner and Summers were scheduled to appear with Obama at a press conference in Chicago Monday morning.