US President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced the dissolution of his two business councils – the American Manufacturing Council and the Strategy and Policy Forum. The councils were composed of CEOs and business leaders.
Adebayo Ogunlesi, a Nigerian businessman based in the US, was a member of the Strategy and Policy Forum. He was appointed by Trump last December.
Ogunlesi is CEO of Global Infrastructure Partners. He holds majority stake in London Gatwick airport.
Reports however said the groups had already decided to disband before Trump beat them to the announcement.
Members of both groups which were created to advise Mr Trump on his economic agenda had felt growing pressure to resign following Trump’s tepid response to a white nationalist rally in Virginia.
On Saturday, Trump received widespread criticism over his perceived weak response to the white nationalist rally in the central Virginia city which resulted in the death of a counter-protester struck by a vehicle. The president repeated sentiments Tuesday that he first expressed over the weekend when he said at a Trump Tower press conference that there was “blame” “on both sides” of Saturday’s protests.
Eight members of the American Manufacturing Council dropped from the panel following Trump’s response to last weekend’s violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. A ninth, Greg Hayes of United Technologies, announced his resignation just minutes after the president’s tweet.
In a tweet on Wednesday, the US president said he did not want to put pressure on the business people and he was therefore “ending both” the manufacturing council and strategy and policy forum.
He tweeted: “Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the manufacturing council and strategy and policy forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!”
A statement issued later by the forum however said the disbanding decision was a mutual one:
Other members of Ogunlesi’s council relieved from their duties are Stephen A Schwarzman (forum chairman), chairman, CEO, and co-founder of Blackstone; Paul Atkins, CEO, Patomak Global Partners, LLC, former commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission; Mary Barra, chairman and CEO, General Motors; Toby Cosgrove, CEO, Cleveland Clinic; Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO, JPMorgan Chase & Co; and Larry Fink, chairman and CEO, BlackRock.
The remaining are Bob Iger, chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company; Rich Lesser, president and CEO, Boston Consulting gGroup; Doug McMillon, president and CEO, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.; Jim McNerney, former chairman, president, and CEO, Boeing; Ginni Rometty, chairman, president, and CEO, IBM; Kevin Warsh, Shepard Family Distinguished Visiting Fellow in Economics, Hoover Institute, former member of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System; Mark Weinberger, Global Chairman and CEO, EY; Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO, General Electric; and Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer Prize-winner, vice chairman of IHS Markit.